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C*Lt Ho, 



Fol times r-vi Volumes vn-xi 

j. n. KURY, M.A., F.H.A. s. A. COOK, LITT.D., F.B.A. 

s. A. COCK, r.rrr.n. F. E. AD COCK, M.A., F.H.A. 



Cambridge University Press 






Maruzen Company Ltd 

All rights reserved 





A.D. 70 192 

S. A. COOK, LITT.D., F.B.A. 

F. E. ADCOCK, M.A., F.B.A. 



i Ami N . 




^ yTOLUME TEN ended with a year of civil war and rebellion 
V within the Empire, In this volume is described a speedy 
recovery of security and stability under the Flavian emperors, 
followed by a century in which, despite wars of conquest and wars 
of defence, there was in general peace and a sense of security* 
This fact is reflected in the title which we have chosen, 'The 
Imperial Peace, * At the end of the volume an attempt has been 
made to sum up the main characteristics of the period under 
review and to indicate the transition to Volume Twelve. There, 
too, is given the connection with the preceding volume which 
would otherwise have been described at this point- 

The first nine chapters of this volume contain, on the one hand, 
the narrative of events, domestic and foreign, in the reigns of the 
several emperors, and, on the other,, an account of the northern 
and eastern peoples that were in closest touch with the Empire. 
They include, also, the rise of Christianity, which is described at 
the point at which it takes shape as a definite factor in the life of 
the Empire, While, in this volume, the influence of Oriental and 
Western religions finds record* in so far as it is relevant for Im- 
perial policy or for the life of the provinces, the general religious 
development of paganism within the Empire is reserved for 
Volume Twelve, where its range and significance can be seen as a 
whole* There follows next a chapter which sums up the develop- 
ment of the Principate and of the Imperial administration (Chap* 
x); and this leads on to an estimate of what Roman rule meant 
for the world of the Empire (Chap, xi). The complement to this 
is to be found in the next five chapters, which provide a survey of 
those groups of provinces which were, and were to be, important 
in Imperial history. In this survey the emphasis is bound to fall 
unevenly because of the incidence of the ancient evidence, but 
we hope that the balance of West and East has been properly 
preserved. Where, as with Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and Cyprus, it 
did not seem possible to isolate enough evidence to provide a 
picture with significance, we have been content to have occasional 
references but no systematic description* The social life of Rome 
and Italy has been set somewhat later in the volume because it 
becomes most intelligible after the Latin literature of the period 
has been described (Chap* xvnx). The last main section of the 


volume (Chaps- xvn-xxi) has for Its theme the Intellectual and 
artistic achievements of the Empire concluding with a review of 
Roman Classical Law from the time of Augustus onwards. 

The chief characteristic of this phase of the Roman Empire is 
its wide diversity despite an underlying unity, and this diversity's 
fully reflected in the international character of research into its 
history. There is hardly a European country that has not churned 
as its especial province some area of the Empire, together with an 
appreciation of the whole. We have, therefore., to record an 
obligation to the research of many countries as well as a more 
particular debt to those of their scholars who have contributed to 
the present volume. Professor Weber has written on I hid nan 
and the Antonines, Professor Keil on the Greek provinces, 
Dr Stade on Roman Germany, Professor Rodenwaklt on Im- 
perial art 3 M. Albertini on Spain., Africa and Gaul, !VL Cumont 
on the frontier provinces of the East, Professor Komanelli on 
Crete and Cyrenaica, Professor Alfoldi of Budapest on the Getae 
and Dacians and the Danube provinces, Dr Kkholm of Uppsala 
has described the peoples of Northern Europe. Professor 
Rostovtzeff, to whose work on the Empire every contributor is. 
much indebted^ has written on the Sarmatae and .Parthians, Of 
English scholars, Mr Charlesworth and Mr Synie have den If 
with the Flavians, Mr Longden with Nerva and Trajan, Dr 
Streeter with the rise of Christianity, Professor CollingwooJ with 
Britain, Dr Idris Bell with Egypt, Mr Sandbaeh with Greek 
Literature, Philosophy and Science, Mr Sikes with Latin Litera- 
ture, Dr Wight Duff with Social Life in Rome ami Italy, anil 
Professor Buckland with Classical Roman Law, To Professor 
Last we owe the two central chapters, those on the Prineipafe ami 
Imperial Administration and on Rome and the Empire, The 
Conclusion to the volume is by Professor Adcoekj the Appendix 
on Sources by Mr Charlesworth, the Notes at the end of" the 
volume are by Mr Longden and M. Cumont. 

In the construction of the bibliographies, which are clue to the 
several contributors,, account has been taken of material already 
provided in Volume Ten which in some respects anticipated the: 
present volume. Detailed surveys of ancient sources have been 
made less necessary by an increase in documentation, desirable in 
view of the peculiarly wide range of the evidence. "The extent to 
which inscriptions replace literary sources is reflected in the Index 
of Passages, In the bibliographies,, especially in those that refer 
to the several provinces and to the peoples outside the Kmpire, we arc 
indebted to contributors for the great pains which they have taken 



In the assembling, selection and arrangement of their material 8 
We venture to hope that they will be rewarded by the due grati- 
tude of other scholars engaged on these fields of study. These 
will not fail to realize that completeness is unattainable within the 
limits of a single volume, and that reference must at times be 
made to the collections of bibliographical material which are cited. 
The maps are intended to assist the reading of the text, and not 
to form in themselves a complete atlas of the ancient world in this 
period. In such matters as the use of * Empire* and 'empire* and 
the employment of italics to mark technical terms we have 
followed the practice described in the Preface to Volume Ten, 
For any apparent or real inconsistencies the responsibility lies 
with the Kditors, not with the contributors,, who, in these and 
other formal details, have at times sacrificed their own preferences 
to the general uniformity of the volume* 

The first duty of the Kditors is to thank the contributors for 
their co-operation and for the help which they have generously 
given on questions allied to the subjects of their chapters. Other 
scholars, also, have kindly assisted us with information on special 
topics. In the planning of the volume we have, besides our debt 
to the scheme drawn up by the late Professor Bury, an especial 
reason to be grateful for advice from Professors Last> Rostovtzeff 
and Weber, though responsibility rests entirely on our shoulders. 
On several matters connected with this volume we have also had 
the benefit of the opinion of Professor N. FL Baynes, who has 
consented to act with us as an Editor of Volume Twelve. We 
welcome his accession, which will ensure that the join with the 
Cambridge Medieval ' History > to which, indeed, he was a contributor, 
will be expertly made, and the plan on which Volume Twelve is 
already being prepared is in the main due to him* Mr Charles- 
worth would record his indebtedness to Professors J. G C. 
Anderson and A. D. Nock, for reading through his chapter in 
proof and for many helpful suggestions. Professor Romanelli 
wishes to acknowledge the courtesy of Signora IVL Guarducci in 
allowing him to see the proofs of her volume of Inscriptiones 
Crcficae before its publication. Professor Rodenwaldt has to thank 
Professor Keil for information about his researches at Ephesus. 
Professor Buckland would express his debt to Professor de Zulueta 
for his assistance* 

The Table showing the Parthian Dynasty has been constructed 
by Professor Adcock in consultation with Professor Rostovtzeff* 
In the drawing-up of the Chronological Table, which has in- 
volved a reading of the proofs^ the Editors would gratefully 


acknowledge once more the vigilant assistance of Mr G. B. A* 
Fletcher. In the preparation of maps Dr Ekholm supplied 
material for Map 2 and Mr Syme for Map 4; Map i 6 y which is 
repeated from Volume Ten, is due to Dr Bell ; Map 7 is based on 
a map constructed by Mrs D. W. Brogan with her kind permis- 
sion and that of the Royal Archaeological Institute of Great Britain 
and Ireland. For the construction of the other maps Mr Charles- 
worth is responsible, but he has had the benefit of advice from 
contributors on certain points. For the plans that accompany this 
volume we acknowledge the courtesy of the publishers of K. I Aiglt's 
Classical Monuments of Rome for Plan i, of the Reale Aecadernia 
dei Lincel for Plan 2 } of the Ufficio Antichita e Belle Arti of the 
Governatorato of Rome for Plan 3, We have to thank Mr C. T. 
Seltman for his assistance with the plans and his cooperation 
in the illustrations to this volume. These will appear in Volume 
of Plates V (illustrating Volumes Eleven and Twelve), which 
he is preparing for publication at the same time as the latter 
volume. We have further to acknowledge translations by Mr S* J. 
Charleston, Mr BL Sykes Davies, Mr Fletcher, Mr G, T. Griffith, 
Mr A. H. J. Knight, Mr Seltman and Mr D. E* W, WormelL 

The Index to Maps and the Index of Passages are the work of 
Mr B. Benham, who is also in part responsible for the General 
Index, together with Mrs B, Goulding ' Brown and Mr \V. IL 
Swift, to all of whom we owe a debt for their care in a task of 
much complexity. We have omitted from the General Index 
many single entries which seemed to us not needed, and if any 
omissions are observed with regret the fault rests with the Kditors. 
Finally, we have once more to express our gratitude to the Staff 
of the University Press for their unfailing skill and helpfulness, 

We have chosen to place on the cover the head of ! Hadrian, f he- 
most notable personality in the period covered by the volume. 
The medallion is reproduced by the kind permission of the 
Staatl Muenzkabinett, Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin. 






Fellow of St John's College and Laurence Reader in Ancient 

History in the University of Cambridge 


I. Tl!E NEW EMPEROR .....*.. I 

The man and his task ........ 2 


The beginning of recovery ....... 5 

The succession ......... 6 

The opposition ......... 7 

Helvidius Prisons ........ 8 

The Cynics .......... 9 

Vespasian's censorship . . . . . . , . 10 

Legislation *........ 1 1 


Increased taxation ........ 15 

Judicious spending . * ID 

Policy of romanizalion . . , . . . . . 17 

The new aristocracy of service . . . . . 1 8 

IV. TITUS . 19 

* The darling of mankind* 20 

Death and deification . . . . . . , . 21 


Upbringing and character .,...,, 22 

Domilian * assumes the god* , - . . * * . 25 

The revolt of Salurnin us ....... 20 

Trials for treason . , . . . * . . , 27 

Persecution of Republicans . . . . . . . 30 

September the 1 6th . . . . . . * - 32 


Building **....,,, 33 

Financial policy , . . 35 

Legislator and censor ........ 36 

Agrarian policy *,.,..,.. 38 

Administration of the empire * . , . * . 39 

D minus et fltus . . , ...... 41 

The Flavian achievement ....... 4.3 

The eternity of Rome 45 




By G. EKHOLM ? Dozent in the University of Uppsala, and A. AT,Kor,m> Professor 

of the Ancient History and Archaeology of the Hungarian territory 

in the University of Budapest 1 



The Neolithic age 1 7 

Bronze age cultures ........ 49 


Classical writers and the North . . . . . <;o 

Germani cisrhenani . . . . . , . . [2 


The Suebi 54 

Tlie Hermiandurl . . . . > . . . 56 

The Marcomanni ...... . 57 

The Bastarnae ......... 59 

The East Germanic tribes . . . . . , . 6 1 


The Sulones , . . . . . . . . 63 

The East Baltic peoples . . . . . . . . 6 ; 

The Finns ..'......*. 66 


The character of the work , . . . . . . 6K 

Social conditions , . . . . . , . . 70 

Trade and comiuerce . * * . . . . 71 

Rellgioix . . , . . . . . , 7^ 

Kingship .*...... 74 

Military institutions . . * . , , , . 76 


Early Pre-Scythians . . . . . . . 77 

Scythians and Celts . . , . . . . 78 

The Getae .......... 7^ 

The enemies of the Getae ....... K< >( J 

The rise of Da clan power . . . . , , , 82 

Burebista .......... ^3 

The Early Empire and the Da clans . ... 84 

VII* DACIAN civni7ATiow ....... H6 

Scythian influences H6 

Greek Injfitience ...,., 87 

Dacian civilization , . 4 . t . , HB 

Kings, nobles and commonw 89 

1 Sections l-v are by Dr Ekbolm, sections vi and vii by Professor 



By M. ROSTOVTZEFF, Hon. Litt.D. (Cantab.), Hon. D.Litt. (Oxon.) ? 

Hon. Litt.D. (Wisconsin) 
Professor of Ancient History in Yale University 



Origin of the Saroiatao . . . . , . . . 93 

The Aorsi and Alani ........ 94 

The Alani and Bosporus ....... 96 


Sarmatian trade and warfare . . . . . . . 98 

The archaeological evidence . . . . . . .100 

Sarmatian art . . . . . . . . .102 

The * animal style* . . . . . . . .103 


Augustus and Parthia . . . . . . . .105 

The Julio-Claudians and Parthia . . . , . .107 

Trajan and Hadrian and Parthia . . . . . .108 

The Antoninos and Parthia . . . . , . .109 

The failure of Rome . . . . . . . .no 

The Parthians and the North-west . . , , . 1 1 1 

The Parthians and the South-east . . , . . .112 


Vassal kings . . . , . . . . ,113 

Satrapies . . . . . . . . . ,114 

The cities of the Parthian empire . . . . . .116 

Nobles and feudatories . . * . . . . .118 

The Parthian arm/ . . . . . . . .119 


Economic life , . . . . . . . .121 

Foreign trade . , . . . . . . .122 

Contacts with China . . , . . . . .123 


Religion . . . . . . . . . .125 

.Literature . . , . . . , , . .126 

Architecture. . . . . , . . . ,127 

Art - . . . 128 


Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford 

I. THK ARMY* . . . . . . . . . .131 

The re-organixation of the Army . - , . . .132 

M 1 hc policy oi'lhc Flavian emperors . , * , .135 

The sword and the Bpade . . . . . .136 



II. THE EASTERN FRONTIER . . - * * .137 

The Syrian principalities . . - . r 3 K 
Legions in Cappadocia ........ I 4 

Relations with Parthia . . . . - - .14.! 

Fa/si Neroxis Ludibrium . * - ! 4 -I 


The army in Africa . . - - - . i .| f ? 

JRome and the African nomads . - . . . .147 

Warfare in Morocco . . . - - - - , s ,| K 

The Spanish garrison . . - - i s n 

IV. CONQUEST IN BRITAIN . . - , i ^ < 

Agricola and his biographer . . . . . , .1^1 

The subjugation of Wales . . . - - . i v! 
Agricola in northern England . . . . . i s j 

Agricola in Scotland ........ 

The battle of the Mons Graupius ...... 

The recall of Agricola ....... , $ 7 


The Lower Rhine as a frontier . , . , . . 
Beyond the Upper Rhine , , . . . . , 


Doraitian with the Army ....... 1^3 

A new kind of frontier . . . . . * , 16} 
Annexations in Southern CScrmany - . , . .16** 

VII. THE DACIAN WAR . . . . . . . i^K 

Danger on the Danube * . . . . . * , H*K 

The legions on the Danube . . . . . . .1^9 

The end of Cornelias Kuscus . , . , , . ,17^ 

The victory of Tapae . . . * , , .17**. 

VIII. THE CIVIL WAR . . , . . . . . , .172 

Mutiny at Mainz ......... 

Domitian on the Rhine ........ 

The settlement with the Chatti ..... 

IX. PEACE WITH DACIA . . . . . . , . , r; s 

Suebi and Sarnmlians . . . . . , , ,177 

X. TlIE FlAVIAN ACHIEVEMENT . . . . . , r/H 

A lull in Britain . , . . . . . . r/H 

Decumatcs Agri . . . . , . . , , t K t 

The Limes , . . . . , . . , , iHi 

The Germama of M \icitus . . . . , , iH.i 

Urgentilws imperil fat is , . . , . . . i H <j 

The armies of the Danube ....... iHf> 




By R. P. LONG DEN, M.A. 
Student and Censor of Christ Church, Oxford 


1. NERVA . . . . . . . . . , .188 

The family of Ncrva . . . . . . . .189 

The first reaction * . . . . . .191 

The programme of 97 . . , . . . . .192 

The government in difficulties . . * . . .194 

The adoption of Trajan . . . . , . 1 96 

The achievement of Ncrva . . . . . . ,198 

TL TRAJAN: PRINCKFS AND /ta/v.'/TO.v , . . . . .199 

The sources for Trajan ....... 200 

The accession of Trajan , . . . . . .201 

The personality of Trajan . . . . . . 20 z 

The restoration of confidence ....... 203 

The Senate and the new regime ...... 204 


Public works in Rome ........ 206 

Public works in Italy ........ 207 

Public works in the provinces. ...... 208 

The restoration of Italy . . . . ,210 

Aliment a . , . . . , . . . .211 

Other social measures . . . . . . . .212 

Congtaria - . . . . - - . ,214 

Panem et circcnses . . . . . * .215 

Trajan's financial record . . . * . . .216 
Legislation . . . . . . - .217 


The reform of local misgovern ment . . . , .219 

Tlj<: administrative personnel . . . . - . 221 



I, THK DANUHK .......... 223 

Tho Dadun question .,*...* 224 

ICvidonce? for thr Darian campaigns . . - - .225 

Thr fir jit I")a<"ian campaign . . . . . . .226 

The nut of tho first war ....... 229 

Tlut outbreak of the second war .,.,. 230 
The conquest of Daciu , * - - .231 
The; settlement nf IXick ...-..- 232 

The frontk-rs of Dacla . . . * * * * 
The results of annexation . . - - * 



II. TRAJAN IN THE EAST . . . . * . ^36 

The annexation of Arabia . . - - -37 

The Parthian problem . . . . - - -39 

The causes of the Parthian war . . - - - .24.0 

The Armenian campaign . . - -H~ 

The annexation of Mesopotamia ...... -!.|,j. 

The advance to Ctesiphon . . . - - . -?.|6 

The revolt of 1 16 . . . . - - - - ^.| 

The Jewish rising . . - - - -5 S* 

The death of Trajan - - .251 



By B. H. STREETKR, M.A., D.I)., K.K.A. 
Provost of The Queen's College, Oxford, fbrnuTly Canon t>f Hciviord 

I. INTRODUCTION . . . . . . - - .2^3 


Roman evidence . . . . . . . .2^4 
Jewish evidence , . . . . . . . . , c; 6 

III. CHRISTIAN EVIDENCE . . , . . . . * **;7 

Epistles and Acts . ,2^7 

The Synoptic Gospels . . . , . . . ,2^9 

The * Gospel of John* -i'a 

Other Christian primitives ....... zf*& 

IV. THE FIRE FROM HEAVEN ........ -5/>4 

Jesus the Christ , . * . a6; 

Possession by the Spirit . , . * , , ,266 

V. JEW AND GENTILE ....., 268 

The Gentiles and the Law ...*, 26*) 
The battle round the Law . . . . , . ,270 


The growth of a New Testament * . . . . a 75 

The demons . . . . . . * ,27^ 

The message of Paul ,....,.. 277 

Paul and the Law ........ 278 

The Christianity of Luke . . . . . . 2^0 

The beginnings of theology . . * . . . Kj 

John and Jude . . , , . , , .285 


Primitive church order . . . - , . . zHj 

The waning of the prophets , * . . , . . a% 

Ignatius of Antioch , , . # . . * a 9 1 

The birth of orthodoxy . . , . . , 



Professor of Ancient History in the University of Berlin 



The heritage of Trajan . . . . . . .295 

Tlie successors of Trajan . . . . . . .296 

II. THE ACCESSION OF HADRIAN . . . . . . .297 

Hadrian's early career . . . . . . . .298 

The proclamation of Hadrian . . , - . ,300 

The new policy . . . . . . . . .301 

The execution of the four consulars ..... 303 


Hadrian's personality . . . . . . . .305 

The Augustan model . . . . . . . .306 

Senate and eqmtes . , . . . . . .308 

The new civil service . . . . . . . 309 


Military reforms and policy . . . , . , .311 

Frontier defence . . . . . . . . .312 

The wars of Hadrian . . . . . - , 313 


Hadrian as lawyer . . . . - . . 3 14 

Empire and provincials . , . . , . . .316 

Hadrian's journeys . . - - .318 

The new panhellenlsm . . . . - - . .320 

The problem of the succession . . . . - .322 
The closing scene . . . . . . 323 



I- ANTONINUS Pius , . . . . . . . .325 

The character of Pius . . . , , . 3 26 

Antoninus* early career . . . . . . .327 

The accession of Antoninus * . . . , . ,329 

Titulature and its significance . - . . .330 

TJie hopes of the world . , . * . 332 

Administration and lawgiving . , . . * 334 

Foreign policy . . . . . - , . * 

timum prinups . . . . . * * * 





The paradox of Marcus - .340 

The accession of Marcus . . . - ,342 

The two August! 343 

III. THE PARTHIAN WAR . . . - - * 34^ 

Verus and Parthia 34'> 

The Roman advance . . . - - * 3 j l 7 

The great plague . . . -34^ 

IV. THE WAR IN GERMANY ........ 349 

The German danger . . . . . - * * 35 

The perils of Italy 352 

The death of Verus 353 

The grand strategy . . . . - - 3 5 5 

The first decade of Marcus 3</> 

The counter-offensive . . . . . . - .3^8 

The revolt of Avidius Cassius 5 f)0 

The zenith of Marcus 3 (tz 

The eleventh hour 3^4 


A Stoic emperor . . . . .366 
The political ideas of Marcus . . - * .367 

VI. INTERNAL POLICY . . . . - -3^ 

The Senate 369 

The elites 37 

Marcus as lawgiver . , . . - - . -37-* 
Finance - - 374 


Commodus 'the rising sun* . . * - . ,377 

Commodus and the Senate . . . . . ,578 

The conspiracy of Lu cilia . . . - . . .380 

Perennis . , . . . . . . $Ki 

Oleander .......... 582 

Eclectus and Laetus , . , . * . . 

Frontier problems . * . * . 


The literary tradition and the coins , , * . . ,387 

The religious movement , * , . . ,388 

The realization of AtttniKtas . , . * . . . 38^ 

Hercules Romanus . . , . . . . * 3 4 /^ 

The historical significance of Commodus . . . . . 391 




Fellow of Brascnose College, and Caindcn Profcasor of AnnVnt Hintory in 
University of Oxford, formerly Fellow of St JoUn* O>Hej:<, OxfunJ 

I- THE ARMY AND THE STATE , . , . * 393 

The Army and the government .,., 394 

Vespasian and Ms troops . . . , . , 397 

Discipline restored . . , , , , 




Personality and government ....... 400 

The prestige of the prlnceps . . . . . . .402 

The Augustan model ........ 403 


The legal basis 404 

Lex de i-Mperio J^espasiani ....... 405 


The new imperial house ....... 409 

The founding of a dynasty . . . . . . .410 

Adoption . . . . . . . . . .413 

The title * Caesar' 414 

The twin Augusti . . . . . . . .415 


The role of the Senate 417 

The recruitment of the Senate . . . . . .418 


The feebleness of the fathers * 421 

The duties of the magistrates . . . . . . .422 

The princeps and his advisers ....... 424 


The eguites in the administration ...... 

The growth of business ..*.... 4 2 9 

EfutUs and freed men . . . . . . . ,430 

Soldiers and civilians . . , . . . . .432 





The Roman idea of li&crtas . . . . * 436 

The Roman method , . . * . 437 


Hellenistic experiments . . . . . , 439 

Unity and culture ..*,.... 440 

III. ROME AND ROMAN IXATION , . . . . . . ,441 

Italians abroad : settlers and soldiers . 442 

Rome and her culture ........ 445 

The prestige of Rome ........ 446 


Local government ...... 449 

The rights of com mmnitics ....... 450 

Iu$ Latii and Cfoitas R&mana . . , , , * 453 

Go/otriae and mnnicipia . , . . . , * ,454 




Town and country: attribntio . . . 4^7 

Democracy and oligarchy . . . - - 4 5 '^ 

The local magistrates 4-( >o 

Municipal finance . . . . - - - ,463 

The cost of public life 4^4 

VI IMPERIAL ENCROACHMENT . . . . - * - .467 

Amateur and professional ....... 4/7 

Imperial meddling . . . * - - 4^^ 

The curatores 4 **") 


Provincial opinion .... . . -4 7 

The Provincial Concilia ,471 

The Councils and the Imperial cult . . . * .472 

The Councils as representative . . . . . .474 

VIII. CONCLUSION , , . . . . . . .47^ 

Imperial sentiment . . . - . . -47^ 

Unity not uniformity . . . . . . - .477 



By E. 
Professor at the College cle Friinn; 


II. AFRICA , * . . . . , . . , .481 

Population . . . , . , , . . ,4^1 

Conquest and administration , . , . . , 4 K z 

Industry . . . . . , . f ^ft% 
Agriculttire .,*.*... 484 

Land tenures . , . , , . , 4 g ; 

Exports . . . . . . . . , .4X6 

Language and religion . . * . . . . .4X7 

Nomads and towns . . , . . , . . ,jXK 

The upper classes and culture . . . . . 49?,* 

III. SPAIN ........... ^i 

Population . . . . . . . . w . ^<;js 

Minerals and nan ing . . , . . . 4*M 

Agriculture and exports . . , . . . . 4l4 

Spaniards in the army ...,.,. A^^ 

Native society . . . . , , . ,4^7 

Religion, and art . . . , , . . . , 4;H 

Towns . ...... ^^^ 

Communications .....,.. qoo 

Spaniards and Imperial culture . . , , * 501 



IV. GAUL ........... 501 

Narbonensis . . . . . . . ,501 

The Imperial provinces . . . . . . .502 

Agriculture .......... 503 

Industry .......... 504. 

Commerce .......... 505 

Social structure ......... 506 

Celtic survivals ......... 507 

Religion .......... 508 

Importance of Gaul for the Empire ..... 509 



By R. G. COLLINGWOOD, M.A., F.S.A., F.B.A., Waynflete Professor of 

Metaphysical Philosophy in the University of Oxford, K. STADE, 

Second Director of the Romisch-Germanische Kommission of the 

German Archaeological Institute, and A. ALFOLDi 1 

I. BRITAIN . . . . . . . . . .511 

Geography and population . . . . . . .512 

Towns and countryside . . . . . . . 14 

Minerals . . . . . . , . , .516 

Industry and commerce . . . . . 517 

Political and social life . . . , , . * .518 
Roads . . . . . . . . . .519 

Navigation .......... 520 

Architecture . . . . . . . . .521 

Hadrian's Watt 522 

The Antomne wall . , . . . . , 525 

II. ROMAN GERMANY AND RAETIA . . . . . . .526 

The Rhine provinces and Raetia . . . . .527 
Military and economic policy . . . . . ,528 

Influence of the army . - . . . . . 530 

Towns and cities . . . . . , . * .531 

Social life . 533 

The economic system .*...*.. 534 
Degree of romanization . . . , * . 536 

The native element in religion . . , . 537 

Contribution to the Empire . . . , . , 539 


The Danube lands . . . * . .540 
Racial elements , . - * * . . . .541 

Celtic Influences . . . . * . . . .542 

Roads 544 

Colonies and CM fates . . - . . . * -545 

1 Section I is by Professor Collingwood, section n by Dr Stade> section in by Professor 



Noricum ...- 547 

Military settlements . . - 54'" 

Trade .......... ^9 

Romanization and culture . . - - ^ I 

Language: the advance of Latin . - - - . ^2 

The new settlers in Dacia . . ^ - - - S* ^ 3 

The contribution of Pannonia to the Empire . . . $ vf 



Professor of Ancient History in the University of Gmfswuld 

I. INTRODUCTION . . . . - * - 1 > { ? S ? 

II. ACHAEA ..,.. . 5 V 

The province of Achaea . . . - - 

The cities and their rights , . . . . . 

The emperors and the province . . , . . 
Athens .......... 

Sparta ....... . 

The Peloponncsc . , . . . . 
Central Greece . . . . . . . . 

Delphi .......... 

Olympia . . . . * . . . . . 

III. EPIRUS AND MACEDONIA . . , , , . . , 

Western Greece and Macedonia ...... 

Macedonia ...... . . , , 


The annexation of Thrace ....... cjyt* 

Roads and cities in Thrace . . . * . , , ; 7 ^ 
The Black Sea Pcntapolis ....... ^73 

V. PONTUS ET BlTHTNIA . . . . , . . , *>7J 

City territories . . , , , , . . ^76 

Trade and communications . , . , , t . 

The cities and their government . . . , , 

Culture . . . . , , . . . -579 

VI. ASIA ....... . . . .<;* 

The province of Asia . . . . , , . <; 8 1 

Self-governing communities . * . # , , j;H^ 

The economic revival of Asia * . * . ^^4 

Roman policy in Asia . . . , . , ^H6 

The share of the native peoplen . . * . . i*HK 


^^ -....,. 

The cities of Lycia . . . . . , 

The helleimation of Lycia . . . . . . 594 

Pamphylia and PIsidia * . . . . , , * 59S 



VIII. GALATIA ........... 597 

The province of Galatia . . . . . . .598 

The Koinon of the Galatians . . . . . . .599 

Lycaonia and Isauria ........ 600 

Cities and colonies . . . . . . . .601 

IX. ClLTCIA 602 

The province of Cilicia ....... 603 

Seleuceia on the Calycadnus ....... 604 


By FRANZ CUMONT, Hon. Litt.D. (Cantab, and Dublin), Hon. DXitt, (Oxon.), 

Hon. LL.D. (Aberdeen) 


Conditions before the Romans ...... 607 

Commagene . . . . . . . . .608 

The province of Cappadocia ....... 609 

The cities and people of Cappadocia * . . . .610 

The culture of Cappadocia . . . , . . .611 
The religions of Cappadocia . . . . . . .612 

II. SYRIA, ARABIA AND THK EMPIRE . . . . . . .613 

Pro-Roman Syria . . . , . . . * .614 
The border states of Syria . . . - . . .616 
The defence of Syria . , . . . . . .618 

Roads , 619 

The cities of Syria . . . , . . - .620 
Population and villages . . , . . . . .621 

Hellenism In Syria . , . . . . . .622 

Rom animation In Syria . , , . . . . .624 

Syria's contribution to Roman Law ...... 626 

1IL INDUSTRY AND TRADE ......... 627 

.Industry in Syria . . * , . , . . .628 
The caravan cities . , . . . . .629 

Petra 630 

Palmyra . . . . . , , . .631 
The Syrian diaspora . . , , . . . 633 

IV* SYRIAN em/nmK ,.,*..,., 634 
The splendour of Syrian towns . . . , . .634 
Syrian art . - . * . . .636 

Social conditions . . * . . . . .638 
I'lclucation .......... 639 

Literatim: .......*. ^ 640 

Syrian philosophers ........ 642 

Syrian religion *...... 643 

Foreign inlloenccs on religion .*.*. 644 

Sun-worship ....*.. 646 

Christianity in Syria ..*... 647 




By H. IDRIS BELL, C.B., M.A., Hon. D.Litt. (Wales and Michigan),, Kivjvr of 

Manuscripts In the British Museum, and P. RoMANEUJ, Professor of the Aivhrutlo|;y 

of Roman Africa in the Royal University of Rome 1 


I. EGYPT ........ ... 649 

Alexandria ... ....... 

Antinoopolls . . . - * . 

Liturgies . . . - - - . 

Agrarian policy . . . . . - - - . 

The effects of Roman rule . . . . . - . 

The reforms of Sept iinius Scvcrus . . . . . . 

The Constitiitio of Caracalla , . , . . - 


The division of the two countries ...... 

III. CRETE . ........ - 

The province of Crete . . . . - . . . 

Cities in Crete ......... 

Cretan religion ........ . 

The effects of Roman role . . , . . . . 6f^ 

Imperial art in Crete . . . . . * . . 666 

IV. CYRENAICA ,.*....,.. 667 

The defence of Cjmmica ....... 66 H 

Hellenism and the Greek communitK'H ..... 670 

The economic effects of Roman rule * , . , . 67 1 
The effect of the Jewish revolt ...... 675 

Religion in Cyrenaica . , , . . , . .674 



By F. H. SANI>!)ACH T M.A. 
Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Oniveraity Ixrtrcr in ('LuAHvt 

L POETRY- * . . , . . . . . , ,676 
Poetry the epigram ...,..., 677 


The study of style; Dionysius * - . . .67^ 

The essay On the SMime . . , . t . ft Hit 

Rhetoric: the Second Sophistic . . . . 6Hi 

Dio Chrysostom . . . . , , . , 6K/, 

Aelius Axistides . . . . . . , , />$ 

Lucian --..... /i 

# f 

Pansanias , . . . f f f 

1 Section x is by Dr Bell, section* n-xv by Profowor KomanclH. 



III. PHILOSOPHY .......... 690 

The Greek schools ........ 690 

Posidonius and Stoicism . . , . . . .692 

Seneca .......... 693 

Musonius Rufus and Epictctus ...... 694 

Marcus Aurelius: the Cynics. . . . . . .695 

IV. PLUTARCH .......... 696 

The Moralia ......... 697 

The Lives of Plutarch . .698 

The theology of Plutarch . . . . . . .700 

V. SCIENCE ........... 701 

Medicine .......... 702 

Galen .......... 703 

Mathematics: Ptolemy ........ 704 

VI. CHARACTER op THE AGE ........ 706 

The Greelcs and their past ....... 706 



By E. E. SIKES, M.A. 
President of St John's College^ Cambridge 


The Silver Age ......... 709 

*Maronolatry' . . . , . . . . .710 

Rhetoric and education . . . . . * .712 

The sententia . . * . * . . . ,714 


The plays of Seneca 715 

The influence of Seneca's plays , . . . , .716 

III. LXJCAN (A.D. 3965} AND OTHER EPIC POETS , . . . .717 

The faults of Lucan . . . . . . . .717 

r riie gods in Lucan . . . . . , .718 

The heroes of the P&arsalia . . . . . .719 

The style of Lucan * . . . . . .720 

The Flavian poets . . , . * , .721 

Persius .......... 722 

Juvenal ,*........ 733 

Martial: the epigram . . . * . * . ,725 
Martial as a wit ......... 726 

V. PROSK SATIRE AND ROMANCE . . . . . . .727 

The ^pdcolocyntosis . . . . . . , .727 

Pctronius: the Satyncon . . . . . . .728 


The style of Seneca . , . . . . 730 

The letters of Seneca . . . . , . ,731 



VII. PLINY THE ELDER . . - . - * -73* 
The Natural History 73 2 


/ > > 




The mind of Tacitus * ... 



The Lives 

. 74 x 


The return to Cicero: the Institute . . . . -754 






By J. WIGHT DUFF, M.A., DXitt., LL.IX, Hon. P.Litt. (Durham), F,B,<"U 
Hon. Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford, Kmoritus I'rofrssor of Classif-;, 
Armstrong- College (in the University of Durham), Newcastle upon '-Tyn* 


II. THE SOCIAL GRADES ,.....,.. 744 

The Court .74* 

Senators . . , . , , . . . .746 

Eqmtes . . . . , . . , . 747 

Tur&a Remi . . , , . . . , ,7^0 

III. WOMEN * , . , , , * , 7^2 

Juvenal's indictment . , . , * . . 7153 

The other side of the picture . . . . , * ,754 

IV. SLAVES AND FREEDMEN . . . , . . , , 7 ^ 

Slaves . . . . . . . . , .7?6 

Freedmen .,.,..,.,, 
Freedmen In commerce and at court . 

V. ECONOMIC FACTORS . , . , . , , , .7^0 

Agriculture ,.-.,*, , 760 

Trade .... 761 

Industry *-..., 7/'>2 


Town housing and country villas . . . , .7/15 
Pompeii . . . . , , , t , ,7^4 
Luxury of domestic appointments , , * . * .76$ 
Streets ...,, 766 
A Roman day .,.,, 767 



Humanitarianism . . . . . . , .768 

Family virtues ......... 769 

Literary culture: Fronto ....... 770 

Visiting professors . . . . . . . .772 

Religious tendencies . . . . . . . - 773 



Professor of Classical Archaeology in the University of Berlin 

I. NERO TO TRAJAN . . . . . . . , -775 

The buildings at Vetera . . . . . . .776 

Neronian architecture . . . . . . . -777 

The rebuilding of Rome . . . . . . .778 

The Colosseum ......... 779 

Domitian's palace . . . . . , . . .780 

The works of Apollodorus . . . . . . .781 

The Forum of Trajan . 782 

Design In wall-painting . . . . . . . -783 

The Pompeian * fourth style' 785 

Fresco 786 

Relief ; the Arch of Titus 787 

Trajan's Column . * . . . ' . . .789 

Portraiture .......... 790 


Hadrianic sculpture . * . . . . .792 
Sarcophagi .......... 793 

Relief . 795 

Architecture: the Pantheon ....... 796 

Provincial architecture m the West . . . . . .798 


Architecture In Greece * . . . . . . .800 

Sculpture in Asia Minor , . . . . .801 
Architecture in Asia Minor * . . . . * ,802 
Sjria and Egypt ......... 803 


Palmyra * . . 804 

The art of Neuxxiagcn . . . * - 805 



By W. W. BXTCKLAND, LL.D., lion. D.C.L. (Oxon.), Hon. LL.D. (Edinburgh and 

Harvard), F.B.A., Fellow of Gonville and Cains College and Regius 

Professor of Civil Law in the University of Cambridge 

Divisions of the law * . . . . * .808 



II. SOURCES OF LAW .....* 809 

Philosophical ideas . . . - - - - .810 
The mechanism of legislation . . - - - . K 1 1 
The Edict . . " 812 


Senatus consul fa . . . . X 1 4 

Restripta and Decnta . Hif 


Provincials as jurists . . . - - .817 
The strength of Roman law . . . - - * .818 
The Proculians and Sabimans . . - . . .819 

Labco, Sabinus, Cassius . - - - - . Hzz 

Proculus, Julian ......... 

Gains, Papinian ......... 


Ulpian .......... 

V. THE PRIVATE IAW ......... 

Law of persons ......... 

Law of property ......... 

Law of succession . . - . . . . ,832 

Law of obligations . . . . - . . , Kj^ 
Law of procedure . , . . . . . H^<> 

VI. THE CRIMINAL JLAW . . . . . . . 84 x 

Crimtna extraordinaria . . . , , . 84 z 

Penalties .......... 




1 . TKe Chronology of the Parthian war of Trajan * 

2. The Roman occupation of Pal my rente * 

3. Stations on the Euphrates , . , . . . Hf < > 



GENERAI, BIBLIOGRAPHY . , , f . . , K6 f 

CHAPTER I ........,, H6/> 

CHAPTER II ......,.,. H6cj 

CHAPTER III ..*.,*.,,. 874 

CHAPTEJR. IV .....,, HH^ 

CHAPTER V ...... . w 

CHAPTER VI *..,,,*. 

CHAPTER VII *-.***.. # . H<> i 



CHAPTERS VIII-IX .......... 894 

CHAPTER X ........... 896 

CHAPTER/XI ........... 899 

CHAPTER XII ........... 903 

CHAPTER XIII ..... ..... 907 

CHAPTER XIV ........... 914 

CHAPTER XV ........... 918 

CHAPTER XVI ........... 927 

CHAPTER XVII ....... . . . .930 

CHAPTER XVIII .......... 936 

CHAPTER XIX ........... 940 

CHAPTER XX ..... ...... 942 

CHAPTER XXI . .......... 945 

GENERAL INDEX ......... 948 

INDEX TO MAPS .......... 977 



I. The Roman Empire at the accession of Vespasian . FACING PAGE I 

2* Map to illustrate the Peoples of Northern Europe . 47 

3. The Parthian Empire . . , . , . . 105 

4* Central Europe , , ...... ,> 131 

5. North Africa ........ 145 

6. Roman Britain .,,.,, ijr 

7. The Roman Limes in Germany, ist-jrd centuries . 158 

8. The Roman Empire under Hadrian . . . . 252 
9* Spain .......... 491 

10* Roman Gaul . ....... 501 

ii. Roman Germany ........ , 511 

12. The Danube Lands ..... 

13. Greece and Macedonia ...... 

14. Asia Minor and Armenia . . . . . , 

15. Syria * ......... 

1 6. Egypt ......... 

17. Crete * ......... 

1 8. Cyrenaica .... ..... 

Plans ......... . 775 

The Parthian Dynasty in the time of the Roman Empire . , PAGB 90 
Chronological Table * ..... AT 






SEPTEMBER In the year 70 marked the hundredth anni- 
versary of the battle of Actium. The victor in that battle 
had succeeded in a task which had baffled his predecessors: he 
had discovered a form of government which secured continuance 
for the Roman domination of the Mediterranean world, and had 
given to the peoples of that world a century of undisturbed peace, 
But though the solution that Augustus devised the Princlpate 
had many admirable features, which were to endure and develop,, 
his determination to retain that Principate In his own family had 
proved unfortunate. Two generations after Augustus' death found 
the nobles terrorized and the armies disgusted: the last of the 
line, Nero, had by his behaviour merely succeeded in getting him- 
self feared by the army-commanders and despised as a mounte- 
bank by the common soldier. Yet the revolt which broke out 
in 68 was against the Prlnceps, not against the Principate: the 
rival armies were quite ready to see their own general princeps* 
Republicanism, as a political creed, was dead save among a few 
theorists : even Pise's conspiracy had aimed, not at overthrowing 
the system, but at substituting some other man for Nero. 

Thus the main portion of Augustus' great work stood firm. 
The Principate must remain, and there must be a princeps^ all 
that was needed was a suitable person. But the three candidates 
who in the twelve months between July 69 and July 70 had great- 

Note. The only substantial continuous literary sources for the years 70 
to 96 are Suetonius, Divus Pespasianus, Divus litus and Domitianus (cited 
as frffsp., Tit. 9 Dom?)> and Dio LXVVII Boissevain (which are not entire but 
preserved in. epitome and excerpts). Book iv of Tacitus* Histories includes 
events in Rome during the last days of December 69 and the first half of 
the year 70, the twenty-six chapters of Book v give an account of the 
rebellion in Judaea and the Batavian revolt, but the rest is lost* Occasional 
references to contemporary events occur in the poets Silius Italicus, Statius, 
Martial and Juvenal, and in the prose-writers Frontinus, Quintilian and 
the younger Pliny. This paucity of literary material enhances the value of 
the epigraphic and numismatic evidence, though as a rule this is more useful 
for the history of the provinces and the frontiers than for internal history. 
As Suetonius and Dio Casslus underlie so much of this chapter, and their 
accounts are in comparatively small compass,, reference to them for state- 
ments of fact is only given on controversial points or in stressing an opinion. 


ness thrust upon them, unlike though they were in character and 
outlook, were unfortunate in having one notable similarity, an 
entire unsuitability for the post. The fourth candidate, Vespasian, 
while not a man of outstanding genius or originality, did possess 
the necessary insight and determination to survive. Some sketch 
of his career and character mast form the prelude to any account 
of the work he did. 

Vespasian was born at Reate, in the Sabine hill-country, in 
A.D. 9. His family, with generations of hard farming stock behind 
it, was respectable but not distinguished : in his early years he 
gained the patronage of Narcissus, served with credit in Germany 
and in Britain, obtained the consulship in 51 and a pro-consul- 
ship after. Then he fell on poverty and evil days; he was 
forced to mortgage his estates to his more brilliant brother, 
Flavius Sabinus; worse, he offended Nero by falling asleep at 
one of his recitals. He was living in obscurity when in 66 Nero 
unexpectedly offered him the command of three legions fu put 
down the revolt that had broken out in Judaea. The offer seems 
strange, but Vespasian had proved his competence as a soldier^ 
and his lack of birth and wealth were positive recommendations 
to Nero; he could never be a danger; the prophecy oi the Jew 
Josephus that he would one day become emperor seemed l;mt>h- 
able to Vespasian himself. Yet within twelve months if wits justi- 
fied, for on i July of 69 he was hailed, us Impenitor by the Injion.s 
at Alexandria and on 3 July by the army in Judaea. Five months 
later the murder of Vitellius removed his only rivaK ant! the 
Senate duly acknowledged his accession. 

Of his soldierly ability there could be IK* doubt, ami this was 
perhaps the most important immediate qualification: the armies 
accepted him and he could hold them in cheek* Important for 
the future was the fact that he had sons ami heirs \ Titus now 
thirty years old, and Domitiun, who was eighteen; thus a dynastic 
succession was possible. Next came a certain dogged course: 
once convinced a thing must be done he would carry on stub- 
bornly and resolutely against all obstacles* Nor was* he a man 
dependent upon and gullible by subordinates; he was no aristo- 
crat, extravagant and unaware of the value of money, but om: 
who had known poverty, learnt to drive a hard bargain ; *d to 
manage an estate frugally. Yet his farming ancestry hail not inudr 

1 His wife, Flavin, Domitilhi, died before 69: lie took as com-uNm*, 
Caen is, a freedwoman of A mania, and treated her (HUM? *n$t*w utnn /we. 
Such treatment scandalized Domitiau (Suetonius, Ihtn, i:i* $: I)io(i.jtv, 14) 

he gained wealth by selling honours and preferments 

-> c / rt Q 


him a boor : he could quote Homer or JVfenander appositely^ turn 
a jest in Greek or Latin, and was often able (like Abraham Lincoln) 
to tide over an unpopular measure or an awkward situation with 
a joke 1 . Informing all his actions was an unconquerable common- 
sense and grip of realities : few men can have been so completely 
normal and sensible. 

Even so the task that confronted the new emperor was formid- 
able. Though the Civil War was ended the loyalty and morale 
of the armies had been shaken badly. There was a danger that 
the legionaries might learn to do what they did in the third 
century, dictate the form of rule and set up rulers as they pleased; 
how that danger was turned aside will be seen (pp 3 93 *"??)* Revolts, 
too, were still raging, in the West of the Batavi, in the East 
of the Jews; Pontus, Britain and Mauretania were in a disturbed 
state; in Africa two of the chief cities^ Oca and Leptis ? were con- 
ducting a war of their own (in which the Garamantes had readily 
joined), while on the north-eastern frontier barbarians Dacians, 
Roxolani and Sarmatae had seized the opportunity to cross the 
Danube and harry Roman territory. Besides the tasks of repres- 
sion and defence it was essential to repair the material loss caused 
by the Civil War; for this money was plainly needed, yet there 
was the ominous fact that the guardians of the Aerarium, anxious 
at the depleted state of their treasury, were calling loudly for 
retrenchment. Most urgent of all, the moral and psychological 
damage of the war must be set right, and a healthy tone of con- 
fidence given to the whole Empire. 

The task, though large, was compassable. Unlike Augustus, 
Vespasian had not to devise a new system. There had been a 
serious breakdown in the machinery , but no more; once the 
armies had been recalled to discipline, once the civil population 
had been nursed hack to confidence, all that was called for was 
the patient competence of the mechanic. This competence 
Vespasian possessed: his qualities were just those necessary, 
and though he was already sixty years old, it was a robust 
and sane old age, strikingly different from the misanthropy of 
Tiberius and the invalidism of Claudius. With the Flavian dynasty 
the Roman Kmpire has reached a happier period; the glitter and 
extravagance of life under the JuHo-Claudians vanish, and Roman 
history becomes in growing measure the story not of a court but 
of the peoples inhabiting a vast empire and learning to enjoy a 
common civilization. 

1 Instances abound in Suetonius* Lift* His falling asleep over Nero's 

performance docs not prove beyond doubt a lack of artistic perception. 



Vespasian began as a usurper. His position coukl not he sure 
till the Senate and People of Rome had confirmee! the choice of 
the legions, had done for him what they had done lor C.alha, 
Otho "and Vitellius. On 22 December, A.n. 6y, the day after 
Vitellitis' death, the Senate met and expressed its will that all the 
usual powers should be conferred on the victor; {his resolution 
was then passed by the People 1 . It should be noted, that it was 
not only the imperium -pro consul tin: m<iitts and the trihttuida /WA\VA/J 
that were thus conferred: Augustus had needed, in addition to 
these, certain special powers from time to time, and exemption 
occasionally from laws; many of these powers and exemptions 
were now included en hloc in the law, as (for example) the* rii^ht 
of convening the Senate and bringing business before if, or the 
right of commcndatio* But Vespasian's competence was more com- 
prehensive; the right of commcndntio granted to him was apparently 
unlimited, and he had the right of advancing tin* poinerhnn when- 
ever he thought fit 2 . Naturally, all acts done by or authorized 
by him before this date were validated. Thus hr was now legally 
secured and coukl take his place as the lawful successor to the 
deified Augustus, to Tiberius and Claudius 11 . 

The most urgent need was action to allay panic and to restore 
confidence to a distressed world. While ho was at Alexandria 
during the early summer of 70^ Vespasian worked miraculous 
cures upon a blind man and upon a maimed man; the whole Knsf 
should know that the power of the gods wan upon him, and that 
he and his son Titus were the men, foretold in prophecy, who 
should come from Judaea to rule the world 4 . In the West, his 
chief lieutenant, Mueianu&, who arrived m 'Rome late in December 
69, took power out: of the hands of Antonius Primus and of 1 the 
soldiery he could no longer control* I Ic put to death lite infant sou 
of Vitellius, and another possible rival, Cailpurnhts <almjwns t and 

1 Dessau 244, Hence the enactment, while referred to ;is a /AV, is vmirhrtt 

in the form of a sentttus consultum. For a fuller discussion of its COMM it uf if >na! 
implications see below, pp. 404 $qq. It should be noted that Vespasian 
counted his tribuniciau years from 1 July 69. 

2 The titles of Ponttfex Mttxlmus and Pater P^friae w<w #iv<*u btrn 
they do not appear on a diploma of 6 March 70, though t hey dn *>u our of 
5 April; If, Cl Newton, Tk* RpigrtiphicttI RviUence for th? AV/)f//* f 
Pffs/wsr/m and Titus > 1901, nos, 30 and jr. 

3 These three emperors alone are cited for pivctHk'Wh, (jaitist Nri4, 
CJalba, Otho and Vitcllius being omitted: it is noticeable that Chuulim is wii 
called Divus. * 1 acitus, Uht. i v, 8 1 ; and dl v f I ;j. 


quickly restored some semblance of law and order. The new dynasty 
was represented by the young Domitian. A proclamation restored 
full civic status to all who had been convicted of maiestas under 
Nero or his successors,, and from the Senate various commis- 
sions were appointed to adjudicate upon claims for damage 
caused by the war, to make suggestions for greater economy in 
administration, and to search for copies of those old treaties and 
laws which had perished in the burning of the Capitol 1 . As a 
sign to the whole world that the Roman power was unshaken the 
restoration of the Capitoline Temple was to be begun, and on 
2 i June 70 the foundation stone was laid amid general rejoicing. 
The revolts In East and West were to be put down: two good 
generals, Annlus Gallus and Petilius Cerialis, were to deal with 
the Batavl, while it was learnt that the Emperor was leaving his 
own son, Titus, in Palestine to bring the Jewish rebellion to a 
speedy close (vol. x, pp. 847, 861). 

Thus, though Vespasian did not reach Rome till about October 
70, he had already manifested unmistakably that he stood for 
order and peace, and on his arrival he confirmed these signs. 
He himself took a hand In clearing the site for the new Capitol, 
and tradition cherished the picture of the plebeian Emperor 
carting away rubbish on his shoulder 2 . He began the reduction 
of the Praetorian Guards from sixteen cohorts to the original nine. 
By the end of the year he could announce that the revolts of the 
Batavl and Jews had been crushed, and could close ceremonially, 
like Augustus, the Temple of Janus; the Senate voted to him and 
to Titus a triumph for the capture of Jerusalem. Coins and altars 
mirror something of the joy and thankfulness that was felt. A whole 
series of dedications from this eventful year has been preserved 
to the Victory of Vespasian, to the Pax Augusta^ and to *the lasting 
peace brought by the house of Vespasian and his sons 3 / The 
bronze coinage hailed Vespasian as * Champion of the People's 
Freedom" and celebrated 'The Loyalty of the Armies/ *The 
Restoration of Liberty/ "The Fairness of the Emperor/ 'The 
People's Good Fortune* and other similar topics** Most signi- 
ficant, perhaps., of all the coin-types for its message was that which 
depicted in symbol and promised In its legend *The Eternity of 
the Roman People/ 

1 Tacitus, Hist, rv, 40; over three thousand such State documents were 
ultimately copied and replaced, Suetonius, Pesp* 8, 5* 

2 This seems the best way to reconcile Tacitus, Hist. iv 53 and Suetonius, 
. 8 (with which cf. Dio ucvv 10). 

3 For these dedications see Dessau 6049 5 a - 

4 See Mattmgly-Sydenham, The Roman Imperial Coinage* n, pp. 6676. 


It was essential to convince the world of two things, one that 
the succession was provided for and secure, second that the soldiers 
and the Praetorians would be under control. Vespasian kept his 
two sons assiduously before the public eye, though the, elder was 
naturally more favoured: with Titus he held the ordinary con- 
sulship in 70, 72, 74, 75, 76, 77 and 79,^ while though Domiti:m 
only held the ordinary consulship with his father once in 71 
he was consul or din arius with L. Valerius Catulkis Messallimis In 
73, and suffect consul in 75 ? 763 77 and 79. Coins displayed the 
brothers, elder and younger, as 'Prindpes Juvenfufis,* ami both 
bore the title Caesar 1 , a title which henceforward indicates an heir 
to the throne. Titus was still further advanced: on his return from 
the East, in the spring of 7 1, he received the proconsular imperium, 
and was made partner with his father in tribunieian power, which 
he held continuously from I July In that year, and in the year 734 
he shared the censorship with Vespasian, lie was allowed to 
write and sign letters and edicts in his father's name, and in the 
Senate he often acted as quaestor to him; Suetonius does not 
exaggerate when he claims that he played the part of colleague 
and guardian of the Empire 2 . Though Pomithm's position was 
lower, he yet held the consulship six times, and on inscriptions 
his name appeared frequently coupled with those of his father am! 

There can be no doubt as to the significance of this, Apart 
from the prestige that this large number of consulships bestowed 
on his family^ Vespasian made two things clear* One wan that 
the stability of the government was assured: there wan no 
lack of heirs, heirs who were being properly trained ami were 
gaining ample political experience; it would take more than 
one man's assassination to produce a break in the HiicceHsioiu 
Secondly the future rulers were to be Flavians^ for no other family 
would be so well fitted. * My sons shall succeed me> or no oncV 
he declared: it was a choice between the rule of his family or 
anarchy . 

Another danger point had been the legionaries. By the* new 
regime the soldiers were kept in hand and in a of 

discipline* under extremely able commandcre, some of whom may 

1 For the coins see Mattingly-Sydcnham, op. eit. n, pp. Ho, Hi, 97, cjH; 
for inscriptions see e.g. Dessau 246, 259, 

2 Suetonius* Tit. 6 and 7; c IPhilostratus, Pita Jp@lL vi, '$o, 

8 Suetonius, Vesp. 25: cf. Die wcv, xa* The date and occasion an- doubt- 
ful: for a view connecting it with * the philosophic opposition' see R 
Storia economics e $ociale> pp, 131-3 and notes,, further p. 9. 


have been related to the ruling house. The Praetorians had proved 
unruly in the past, and the examples of Sejanus and of Nymphl- 
dius Sabinus showed that their Prefect might easily cherish unde- 
sirable ambitions; they were now placed under the sole control 
of Titus 1 . It was a generous but bold step, for rumours had 
already circulated about Titus* supposed ambitions in the East; 
it was said he had let the army salute him as imperator after the 
capture of Jerusalem., and issued coins on which that title was 
given him; he was alleged to have attended the Apis Ceremony, 
and in the course of the ritual to have placed a diadem upon his 
head 2 . None of these things need have weighed heavily with 
Vespasian, and the confidence the father placed in his son was 
fully repaid: Titus was faithful and vigilant, over-vigilant in- 
deed according to our sources. For there were still disaffected 
elements to form a nucleus for the "continual conspiracies 7 which 
Suetonius records, and it would have been sheer folly to run 

Presumably these conspiracies of which we have no details 
except of one in 79 aimed at murdering Vespasian and his sons 
and at setting up a new princeps in his place. There was opposition, 
however, from another quarter, more vocal and more stressed in 
our sources, though the danger from it was smaller. The focus 
of this opposition was a small coterie of Republican-minded 
senators, led by Helvidius Priscus, and supported by such men 
as Arulenus Rusticus and Junius Mauricus. From the start they 
had determined to magnify the importance of the Senate and to 
minimize the part of the princeps : possibly they imagined that 
Vespasian, conscious of his humble origin, could be overawed by 
the patres*, if so they were soon undeceived. But in the first few 
weeks they made themselves prominent. On the question of 
choosing members for an embassy to the Emperor, Helvidius Pris- 
cus demanded that they should be chosen for merit by their fellows 
on oath, rather than by lot, as was usual* When the praetors com- 
plained of the poverty of the State and the consul designate 
advised that this should be reserved for the Princeps to deal with, 
Helvidius was insistent that the Senate alone should tackle the 
problem^ and he demanded that the restoration of the Capitol 

1 The previous Prefect was M. Arrccinus Clemens (Tacitus, Hist, iv, 
68), who was also related to Vespasian. 

2 Suetonius, 2V/. 5, 2; see Mattingly-Sydenham, op. rit* n p. 56, The 
discovery of the new Apis often led to great popular excitement and en- 
thusiasm (c S.K*A. ffadr, 12, i) and Titus' action could easily be mis- 


should be carried out by the State and Vespasian merely invited 
to assist 1 , 

These heroics did not win approval, and common-sense pre- 
vailed. But on some other matters senators were inclined to prove 
difficult* Many of them C, Cassius Longitms, Helvidius Prisons, 
Q. Paconius Agrippinus, and Musonius Rufus had suffered 
humiliation and exile under Nero, and some could not forget it, 
Cassius Longinus was wiser, devoting the remainder <>i" his Hie 
to those legal studies in which he had already acquired fume 
(p. 82,2 jy.); Paconius Agrippinus was prepared to serve under a 
new and better princeps*\ but the others were eager for revenue. 
Musonius Rufus attacked a Ncronian informer, P. Ignatius 
Celer, and gained his condemnation, Heartened by this, 1 lelvidius 
turned on the redoubtable Eprius Marcellus himself, while Junius 
Mauricus asked Domitian to throw open the Imperial archives 
and disclose the names of the informers. But though the 'hotly of 
senators, in new-found fervour ? took an oath that they had done 
nothing to harm any man's life or goods, vindictivencss was not 
to be allowed play: both Domitian and Mucianus xirged a general 
amnesty, the accusation against Marcellus was dropped, and he 
himself presently promoted to the governorship of Asia 3 . 

Thus Helvidius* day of glory was short: the Senate soon re- 
turned to a more submissive attitude. For the next few years, 
however, Helvidius was a thorn in the side of the ruling house* 
By his family connections he belonged to the irrcconcilables; 
his wife Fannia was a daughter of the Thrasea Paetus, whom 
Nero had put to death^ and a grand-daughter of the Caenna 
Paetus who had joined in a conspiracy against Claudius (vol. x, 
PP 73 **!?* an< i 671); his conduct must have been deliberate, I Ic 
insulted Vespasian in word and act, refusing him his titles ami 
reviling him* Vespasian asked him not to come to the Senate- 
House, if he meant simply to disagree with him and abuse him, 
but Helvidius persisted 4 . Indeed he went further: *he attacked 
monarchical systems and praised republican, and to the people 
he openly advocated revolution 5 / The upshot could not he 
doubtful: placable though he was, Vespasian could not ofter him- 
self as a perpetual target for insult, and could not allow a senator 

1 Tacitus, Hist, iv, 9, 

2 Inscriptions from Gyrene show him acting as legate of Vcspuw;m 
between July and December 71: Jinn. $pig+ 1010, tins. gix 

* See R. K. McElderrj in J.R.S. m, 1913, p. 116. 
4 Epictctus, JD/w, (ed. SchenkP), i, 2, 19-24. 
15 Die LXV 1 2, 2* 


to preach sedition. On some charge, unknown to us, he was 
banished and, shortly after, put to death, though Vespasian 
was extremely reluctant and even tried to recall the execu- 

Helvldius, indeed, was one of the few victims of Vespasian's 
reign, and some others may conveniently be mentioned with him. 
The Emperor had to face savage attacks from a class of people 
called variously in our sources * philosophers,' * Stoics ' and * Cynics.' 
The last term seems the truer: at this time there arose again a 
class of Itinerant moralists, who preached anarchy, inveighed 
against all rulers, and gloried In an utter un conventionality and 
indecency. Few of these can have been Stoics, for the Stoics had 
no objection to monarchy per se^ only to bad monarchs, whereas 
these mob-orators were against all rule and order. So irritating 
and insulting did their attacks become that Mucianus, enraged, 
persuaded Vespasian in 71 to banish not only Cynics but all astro- 
logismdLphilosQphifiiQm Rome: among others Demetrius the Cynic 
and C. Tutilius Hostilianus, a Stoic, had to leave the city 1 . 

This opposition may then be termed * philosophic/ but there 
Is no direct evidence for what has been sometimes assumed 
that It aimed at replacing a hereditary Principate by one based 
upon election. It would not be easy to disentangle the Republi- 
can and the Cynic elements in Helvldius Prlscus, but one thing 
seems clear, that he was utterly opposed to any form of Princi- 
pate, whether hereditary or elective. The Cynics went even 
further : while Helvldius may have advocated a return to some 
form of the old Republic, they were against all government 
and all holders of power. For generations they continued their 
exasperating attacks on the Emperors: I.ucian records that 
Pcregrinus actually abused and insulted the gentle Antoninus 
Pius himself who took no noticeuntil at last the Prefect of 
the City drove him from Rome a , It was unfortunate that these 
extravagances should bring the name of philosophy into disrepute, 
but they did: not only do Qumtilian and Tacitus express their 
grave disapproval, but Die Chrysostom and Lucian inveigh 
against the Cynics, who will do anything for publicity, while two 

1 DJo LXV, 13, 125 for Hostilianus see Fr. Biichelerln Rhein. Museum, 
Lxm 1908* p. 194; Musonius Rufus, who was no revolutionary, and who 
advocated the sage's marrying and taking a part in public life, was ex- 
empted, but must have been banished later since Jerome records his recall by 

2 Lucian, de morte Peregrini, 1 8. The present writer is here indebted to his 
friend, Mr IX R. Dudley, for the use of his unpublished thesis. The Hi$t0ry 
of Cynicism* 


Greek writers, who be it observed had both held official posts, 
Appian and Cassius Dio ? are severest of all in their strictures 1 . 
The average Roman had never had much taste for academic 
discussion; when the Cynics combined this with anarchic ami 
subversive doctrine Roman official opinion was bound Io he 

Even to these Cynics Vespasian showed tolerance, if exile from 
Rome instead of flogging or execution can be counted as tolerance. 
He refused to put them to death ? and when Demetrius continued 
his attacks and railings from outside Rome merely replied, * You 
are doing your utmost to get yourself killed by me, but 1 don't 
kill dogs for barking.' But the Cynics succeeded in placing; the 
Emperor in a difficult position; his patience was not inexhaustible, 
and a few years later their determined efforts at martyrdom met 
their reward. 

Politically the most important achievement of the early years 
was the censorship which Vespasian and Titus held in 73-4, 
A century before, Augustus had had to fill the ffips caused among 
the patrician ranks by war and the proscriptions, anil to reward 
merit or service to himself by promotion to the Senate; Vespasian 
had a like task. The number of patrician families had shrunk con- 
siderably, partly owing to natural causes, partly to persecution, 
while civil war and confiscation had also depicted the* Senate. 
There is no doubt that Vespasian, at the very beginning of his 
reign, had irregularly given men senatorial rank to secure their 
loyalty: but the great work of restoration waited until his censor- 
ship. His policy was at once prudent and liberal; he was the firr.t 
to adlect provincials inter p#tricio$\ the soundness of his choice 
is shown by three names M. Ulpius Traianua, M. Aimiu* 
Verus, and Cn. Julius Agricola 2 * Men of merit, whether Italian 
or provincial,, found their careers forwarded,, and thus C. Antius 
A, Julius Quadratus, L. Baebius Avitus ? and C. Kulvius Lupus 
Servilianus were adlectcd inter praetorfo$*i urnon^ others ;uUUni 
to the Senate^ were an Ephesian, Tib. Julius Cclsus Polemic* 
anus, a Galatian, C. Caristanius Pronto, and L* Antomus 

1 Quintiliati, Ins*. Orat. xi, i, 35 and c xir, a, 6; Tacitus, /tiff, iv. 5 and 
Die Chrys, Or* xxxxx, 910; Lucian, de mwte Ptr^gnni^ 17, Piterum sfttetia, 

io, Demonax, 4^ are examples; Appian, Mithr. iHj fiio i.xv ij. It 
be noted that Die in ui, 36 makes Maecenas warn AtigtiHt*tis ;ig;iiitst 
'philosophers* because they ntmy cause revolutions; this m stlmottt c 
a, later view and not Augustan, 

2 B. Stech> Senators Ram&ni,.., p* 184: add to his list I*, 
uso^L. Julius Frontinus, H. Dessau in J,R.&* in, 1913, p. 30 1. 

3 Stech, op. cit. p. 1 85 sq* 


Saturiilnus 1 . All these men were to play a considerable part 
Antonlus Saturnisms a sinister one in the two generations 
after 70. After completing the work of the censorship Vespasian 
not only advanced the pomerium like Augustus and Claudius 
before him but was able also to dedicate the Temple of Peace, 
in which he placed the spoils of the Jewish campaign : the Roman 
People could regard him now as conqueror, peace-bringer, and 
restorer of the State. 

Within six years from his accession Vespasian had restored 
peace and order, stabilized the financial system (pp. 13 sgq.\ 
created new patrician families and refilled the Senate., and secured 
the succession for his family. From 75 to 79 there is little to 
record, though one or two items stand out. During the Jewish 
War one of the client-kings who had helped prominently was 
M* Julius Agrippa II (see vol. x 3 p, 752); Titus fell violently 
in love with his sister Berenice. In 75 the brother and sister 
visited Rome and were greeted with great honour : Agrippa was 
granted the praetorian insignia and Berenice was lodged in the 
Palatium. Possibly, imagining that she was going to be Titus* 
wife, Berenice behaved arrogantly: we know she held her own 
court in Rome, for Qulntilian records that he had pleaded before 
her 2 . The memory of Cleopatra was not dead, many Romans 
honestly dreaded a union between Titus and an Oriental princess. 
Some Cynic preachers managed to slip back into Rome, and de- 
nounced the marriage and the ruling house ; one of them, Diogenes, 
was caught and flogged, another, Heras, was executed. Such a 
punishment may represent a hardening in the governmental atti- 
tude towards 'philosophers/ or merely the personal exasperation 
of Titus. But the mischief was done, the marriage made im- 
possible, and Titus must let Berenice depart *invitus invitam/ 

In legislation Vespasian was content to confirm or carry further 
the measures of Augustus or Claudius^ and to correct anomalies. 
One method of evading the provisions of the Augustan marriage 
laws had been by creating trusts (Jideicommissa} Instead of making 
legacies : the S+C. Pegasianum of 73 put a stop to this by extending 
to fideicommiss the same restrictions with regard to caeliles and 
orbi as attached to inheritance under the Augustan law 3 (see vol. x, 
p 454)* A law of Claudius had forbidden money-lenders to make 

1 Stech, op* cit* p. 186; add Dessau 9485. For an Eastern king, Alexan- 
der (possibly the son of V of Armenia), who was adlected, see 
Dessau 8823. * Quinttlian, Inst. Qrat. rv, i, 19. 

s Gaius ii, 0,86, 2t86a. The S.C* was so called after the celebrated jurist, 

Pegasus, who rose to be Prefect of the City later. 


loans to a young man against his father's death (vol. x, p. ^4): a 
S,C. Macedoniamim, apparently passed in this period, strengthened 
this by directing that no action was to be given to such a creditor 
even though the father had since died 1 . Apart from this we hear 
of little, save that Vespasian abolished one anomaly in the mass 
of rules relating to the status of children of parents of unequal 
status by declaring that, in accordance with ins 4 jvv/////;;/, the 
children of a slave mother must themselves be slaves and the 
property of her owner 2 . 

There is little more to chronicle, though two events darkened 
the last year of Vespasian's reign. Orosius 3 records that a plague 
visited Rome and carried off many victims, and this is our only 
notice of what may have been a serious disaster. The second 
event was a conspiracy formed against him by two of his trusted 
friends. A, Caecina Alienus, the general, and Kprius Marcel Ins, 
the orator and ex-governor of Asia (pp. 8 ? r H). Conceivably it was 
a move by those who saw Vespasian was ageing\ and feared the 
rule of Titus, but that can be only conjecture. The vigilance of 
Titus discovered the plot, but only just in time: Cueeina, arrested 
as he was leaving the palace after dinner, was found to be carrying 
on him a speech for delivery to the soldiers, and was executed out 
of hand; Marcellus was given a form of trial and committed 
suicide 4 . The danger must have been pressing, but that is all we 

In the late spring of 79 Vespasian's health, till then untroubled, 
began to break. Even so he insisted on carrying on with business, 
and neither his courage nor his humour failed him* ! le refused 
to be put out by reported omens* light-heartedly referring tlietr 
significance to others; when his final illness struck him he jested, 
'Vae, puto, deus fio/ On June 24 he struggled to his feet to 
die as he said an imp&rator should, 'standing,* and collapsed, I Ic 
died as a soldier; his jest came true in his deification as Divus 

1 Bruns, Fontep, 57. The S.C. was called after the name of the mowy- 
lender whose villainies provoked it: it is usually dared to this rrlgn by com- 
parison with Suetonius, Ptsp. 11, Other Instances in which' Vc**p;ismn 
carried further Claudian legislation are to be found In Sutttofmt*, jPVj/>. 1 1 , 
where he apparently re-enacted the $.61 Claudianum (vol. x s p, 69 j) t uiicf 
in Cod. Just, vra, 10, 2* where he apparently reiterated, with some motiifica* 
dons, the S.C. Hosidianum against demolition of building* (vol. x t p, 695), 

2 Gaius i, 85, 3 vw, 9, x i 
4 Dio xv, 1 6, 35 Suetonius, Tit, 3. 



The longest remembered 1 though the least popular part of 
Vespasian's task was the hardest the creation of financial stability. 
Fortunately he was well fitted for the part. A man of simple tastes 
hlmself with no mind for display y he put an abrupt end to the 
ostentatious extravagance of the court of Claudius or Nero; a tone 
of greater moderation and of frugality spread from the princeps 
downwards to all classes 2 . But parsimony and retrenchment alone 
were insufficient, what was needed was more money; that meant 
increased taxation, and Vespasian grappled firmly with the pro- 
blem. At the very outset the officials in charge of the Aerarium had 
complained that funds were low (p. 3); when Mucianus began dis- 
missing the Vitellian veterans from the Praetorian Guard, so great 
was the amount of cash needed to pay their pensions that one 
suggestion made was that a special loan of sixty million sesterces 
should be raised by private subscription 3 . No one could fail to 
be aware of the gravity of the situation and Vespasian was wisely 
frank: startling though it might be he announced that he would 
have to collect no less than forty thousand million sesterces in 
order to make the State solvent again. 

This Immense estimate has naturally caused questioning 1 . To 
one of the earlier commentators, Bud^ It appeared so vast that 
he proposed to emend it to four thousand million. One thing 
seems clear, that the sum Vespasian named was a capital sum and 
not the required yearly revenue. Though the extent of the Empire 
was larger, and though prices may have risen a little, It is Incon- 
ceivable that the expenses of its administration alone demanded a 
revenue one hundred times as large as that of the Aerarium In 
Augustus' day (400,000,000 sesterces) 4 . The revenues of the 
Empire had Increased amazingly during a century of peace and 
security: Kgypt alone now produced well over five hundred 
million sesterces 5 ; It Is the only province for which we possess a 
reliable figure, but if we bear in mind the great prosperity and 
wealth of such regions as Africa, Spain, Gaul and Syria, we may 
reasonably conclude that the total revenue accruing might be at 

1 Sec, for example, S.H.A* Tyr. Trig. yictorinus y 6: *Victorino. . *nemf~ 
nem aestimo praeferendum * * . noa in gubernando aerarlo Vespasianum * . . / 

% Tacitus, Ann. in, 56. s Tacitus, Hist, iv, 47. 

4 Sec the calculations of T Frank in J.R.S. xxiu, *933 p- 143. 

5 Sec M. Bang, Die Steuem dreier romhchtn Provin^m^ in Fricdlander, 
DarsteUungen m$ d$r Sittengtschichte R&m$ 9 9 and 10 ed,, iv> p* 


least five times as much as the Egyptian, that is some two thousand 
five hundred million sesterces. Financial figures in ancient his- 
tory, especially when derived from manuscripts and not from 

stone or bronze, are notoriously untrustworthy, but it looks as 
though the sum that Vespasian named was less than twenty 
times the annual revenue of the Empire and that it could ^ be 
obtained without undue harshness or pressure. The most im- 
mediate use for the money would be to help the devastated areas 
in North Italy and Gaul: in addition the increased number of 
legions and the extensive frontier schemes initiated by the Flavians 
would call for large sums (chap, iv); finally, there were ambitious 
and grandiose building schemes for Rome, for the people must 
be amused and fed and kept contented. But immediate needs 
were not all: it is a reasonable assumption that the sane and 
cautious Vespasian meant to establish a definite capital fund 
which could produce a yearly income, and that sonic portion of 
the forty thousand million was destined for this* Whether any 
special taxes were to be devoted to this fund as Augustus had 
arranged for the Aerarium miliiarc we cannot tell* 

There is no doubt, however, that taxation was considerably 
increased and sometimes even doubled: but it is fair to remember 
that many of the provinces had made such strides in prosperity 
that the earlier assessment was on the low side and they could 
afford to contribute more* A glance at Gaul will show how for- 
tunes had risen. Caesar had imposed on the country a tribute 
of forty million sesterces; in the Julio-Claudian period C* Julius 
Secundus left to the town of Burdigala two million sesterces, and 
the colony of Lugdunum on one occasion offered the State four 
million; under Nex-o the Arverni could afford to pay the sculptor 
Zenodorus, for a colossal statue of Mercury* the sum of forty 
million 1 . Considerable changes in provincial organization took 
place under Vespasian; while some were due to military needs, as 
the incorporation of the kingdom of Commagcnc in Syria or the 
formation of the new large province of Galatia-Cappadocia (p* 1 40), 
many were obviously designed to increase revenue. One such 
change is typical of Vespasian's shrewdness* When Nero gave 
freedom and immunity to Greece he compensated the Senate, 
whose province k had been, by giving it Sardinia ami Corsica* 
Vespasian had little of Nero's phllhellcne sentiment: convinced 
by their internal quarrels that the Greeks *had lost the* art of 

1 C, Julius Secundus, C.LL* xnx, 596-600: Lugdutuim, Tacit u*t 
xvi, 13; the Arverni, Plinv, N.H. xxxxv, 45* It should be mentioned thai 
in these two last passages the reading is not certain* 


liberty/ and annoyed by outbreaks and riots, he took even this 
freedom away from them. But Achaea was impoverished and could 
make no great contribution to the revenue, so Vespasian gra- 
ciously returned it to the Senate, and took over again the fertile 
and wealthy territory of Sardinia and Corsica 1 . For like reasons, 
doubtless, Vespasian deprived Rhodes and Byzantium and Samos 
of liberty and assigned them to provinces, Rhodes and Samos to 
Asia and Byzantium to Bithynia-Pontus. There is evidence for 
considerable re-organization in this region : an inscription shows 
that in Domltian's reign there was a promncia Hellespont con- 
trolled by a financial procurator, while a passage in Festus speaks 
of a promnda instdarum being established 2 . (If this is correct 
Rhodes and Samos may have been incorporated in this new 
promnda insularum^} The Lycian cities had always been turbulent; 
though deprived of freedom by Claudius (voL x, p. 680), they 
may have regained it under Nero, but Vespasian deprived them 
of it finally, and made them into a province to which he added 
Pamphylia 3 . Most of these changes appear to have taken place 
in the first years of his reign, by 73 4 4 , and all must have meant 
definite increases to the Imperial exchequer. 

In addition new taxes were imposed, though here again we 
possess little detailed information 6 . We should probably assign 
to the early years the first organization of three special treasuries, 
thejfcftr/w JudaicuS) the focus Ak^andrinuSy and the focus dsiaticus. 
The focus Judaicus simply appropriated to the Capitolme Temple 
the two drachmas which every Jew used to pay annually to the 
Temple at Jerusalem ; as the number of Jews in the Empire was 
something near five million the revenue brought in was con- 
siderable. On whom the taxes that filled the two other chests 
were imposed and what they brought in we do not know, though 
it has been conjectured that the focus Alexandrinus was connected 
with the Kgyptian corn-supply 6 * 

1 Fausanias vn a 17, 4$ Philostratus, Vita Jipdt. v s 41; for the evidence 
about Corsica sec Newton, op. cit. p. 6x $q* 

2 Suetonius, Vesp, 8> 45 Dessau 13745 Festus, Bre*u* 105 see also McEl- 
derry, op, cit, p, 119^. 

a The evidence is very confused; see Suetonius, Gltmd* 25 and fcsp. 8. 
The creation of the province of Lycia-Pamphylia is wrongly ascribed to 
Claudius by Dio LX 17, 3: Pamphylia before Vespasian's reign had gone with 
CJalatia, 1 acitus, ///>/. n, 9 (p, 590), 

4 Pliny, N.1L iv, 46, suggests that Byzantium held its freedom till 77. 

15 One new tax, the so-called wctig&l urinac, is mentioned by Suetonius 
in a later chapter (ffcsp* 23, 3} to illustrate a jt % st of Vespasian's. 

tt See Hirschfelu, Die kais, y*rwaltung$beamt& 9 pp 369 sqq. and P.-W- 
jr.v. Fiscus (Rostowzew)* 


Besides increasing taxation and improving organization 
(which included some control of the tax-collecting companies) 
the Emperor kept a strict watch on public property: public land 
which had been unlawfully occupied, whether in Italy or the 
provinces, he won back for the State 1 . He even tackled, the 
problem of subsid^a^ that is, land that had been left unallotted 
in a colony. These subsidva were of two kinds, either plots lying 
outside the centuriation or supposedly uncultivable pieces within 
it; being unassigned, they were still technically public property 
though, naturally enough, in course of time they had been occu- 
pied* Vespasian began to reclaim this land from the squatters: 
his action roused indignation, and deputations came from all 
Italy. Vespasian compromised characteristically; there shotiki be 
no more confiscations, but he kept what he had already taken 2 , 

The raising of money is an ungrateful task, and Vespasian's 
imposition of taxation and efficient methods made him a natural 
target for attacks and lampoons. The Alexandrians were quirk 
to find a nickname for him, and our sources have plenty of anec- 
dotes which show him as a man who never disdained to make 
economies or profits however small. But though Vespasian lined 
every device to extort money, he was no miser, ami he did not 
spend on himself; rather he spent generously anil wisely on the 
defence and stability of the Empire and encouraged culture. I Ic 
was never tyrannical in his exactions, and, where people could 
show reason for immunity or special treatment, he secured it to 
them: thus, after due investigation, he confirmed to the VanacinJ, 
of northern Corsica, the bencfitM that Augustus had granted 3 , 
Needy but deserving senators were supported by yearly grants^ 
and he encouraged education and the arts by the cstuhlishincnt 
of professorial chairs and by handsome donations to poets and 
literary men, Quintilian was appointed to the chair of Ljitin 
Rhetoric, the poet Saleius Bassus was rewarded with $00,000 
sesterces. This official encouragement of education was followed 
by individuals and communities alike: we find the youngtT Pliny 
endowing a school at Comum, and teachers visited ami were 
often given permanent appointments in provincial towns. Typical 
of the enhanced position of teachers Is the fact that Vespasian 

1 For control of tax~CQllectiou see Hir&chfcUI, ep* </>., |H Ha y.s for 
public land in Italy see Newton, op< '/., nos. 75 and 76; in Cyrrw, Ann. 
fy*g* *9*9* nos, 9i-3 and Corpus Agriinenserum RAM. (l C. Timlin), 
i, p. 85. 

2 Corpus Agrimensorum Rom, j, p, 41- Sec th<! remarks of f Idttumt in 
Agricefa, p. 272. Titus tried to continue the con iigcut ions, 

3 Brims, JFontes* 9 So. 


was ready to grant them immunity from taxation and freedom 
from having soldiers billeted upon them 1 , 

Money was allotted freely to public works and improvements, 
both in Rome and in the provinces. One great symbolic achieve- 
ment was the new temple of Capitoline Juppiter, completed in 71, 
but Rome could also boast of the Temple of Peace, the Colosseum, 
and other buildings; provincial capitals such as Antioch benefited 
too, and bridges and roads were constructed over the whole 
Empire 2 * Small provincial towns received benefactions and re- 
corded them gratefully. Occasionally the inscription points a 
moral, as when the town of Cadyanda in Lycia declares that * the 
Emperor Vespasian built the bath-house out of money rescued 
for the city by him 3 '; more often it is simply a commemoration 
of the benefaction, but there is scarcely a province that did not 
benefit from the imperial care and generosity. 

Equally important was the work of romanization, which Vespa- 
sian did his utmost to promote. He granted Latin rights to the 
whole of Spain, and henceforward there were 110 longer peregrini 
there, but only the two grades of citizenship 4 . This generous 
measure must have entailed a work of re-organization lasting 
over years- it has been reckoned that some four hundred new 
charters were required but its wisdom cannot be questioned: 
apart altogether from the fact that it gave Vespasian a new 
recruiting-ground (p- 496), it encouraged a vigorous local muni- 
cipal life and was a fitting reward to a region that had been under 
Roman sway for nearly three hundred years and had already made 
considerable contributions to literature. In other provinces, usually 
in mountainous or less developed regions, progress was helped 
by the foundation of new colonies ; to mention a few names only, 
in Africa Ammaedara, in Northern Spain Flaviobriga, in Switzer- 
land Aventicum, in Pannonia Sirmium and Siscia, in Moesia Scupi, 
in Thrace Deultum and Flaviopolis, and in Syria Caesarea received 
new settlers and became centres for the spread of civilization^- 

1 See Dig. L, 4, 18,305 Brans, Jfontes* 9 1 X2s and the new Inscriptions from 
Pergamum which arc discussed by R. Herzog in Sitz. d* preuss. dtkad, 

xxxix, 1935* P> 967* 

a See Newton, op. #V, pp. 504 and 6170, 

3 No attempt is made here to catalogue all the cities which benefited; 
for Cadyanda see LG.JR..JR. m, 507, of which a better text is given in 
Tit, Jlsiae Min* n, 651, 

4 Pliny,, AP.jfcT. in, 30* On the whole topic see R, K. McEIderry in 
J.R.S. vm, 1918, p. 53, 

5 For a fuller list see the articles In P,-W s.wv. Coloniac and T. . Flavlus 
Vespasianus, cols* 2681 syf 


Throughout the Empire Vespasian encouraged mttnicipiti too, 
while in some of the Western provinces the appointment 
of officials, subordinate to the governor, to Bassist him in 
judicial administration, the legati iuridid^ implies an increase 
in litigation which is usually regarded as a sign of advancing 
civilization. In fact the provinces were steadily progressing: 
Spain and Narbonensis had already contributed ^ their ^quota of 
men to the Senate and to the magistracies, and it is significant 
that in the year 80 for the first time an African, (j. Pacfumcius 
Pronto, achieved the consulship, 

Where necessary Vespasian took strong measures to secure 
efficient control: thus it seems likely that he made the Senate 
accept as governor for the province of Asia the* wealthy hut 
unpopular Eprius Marcellus, and that he retained him there for 
three years, during which a number of administrative alterations 
were made (see above, p. 8 5 n. 3). However distasteful Marcellus 
may have been to the more Republican-minded senators, his ability 
was undoubted, his wealth set him above the temptations that 
might have attacked another governor,, and he possessed previous 
experience of the region. As far as we can judge the evidence 
Is not abundant Vespasian's appointments were good: through- 
out his whole reign we hear only of one accusation for extortion, 
against C* Julius Quadratus Bassus, ex-quaestor of Bithymu, and 
in the end he was acquitted 1 . He insisted certainly on a high 
standard of efficiency: a young dandy who cuino, recking with 
scent, to thank him for an appointment, he rebuked with the 
words *I would sooner you smelt of garlic* and cancelled his 
appointment* "His officials,, generals and governors, formed a, new 
aristocracy of service, for the old aristocracy of birth had either 
died out or been killed by the Julio-Claudians; they had the good 
sense to carry on the administration of the Krnpire, whatever the 
emperor, and were ready (in Eprius Marccllus' phrase) * to admire 
the old times but fall in with the present** 

Fortunately for this new aristocracy of service Vespasian was 
a man like themselves keen, energetic, shrewd* whom they 
could admire and under whom they were willing to serve* A more 
moderate tone set in; not only did Vespasian cut down the feverish 
extravagance ^ of Julio-Claudian times, but he also achieved a 
greater simplicity at court. He laughed at the flatterers who tried 
to find him a heroic ancestry, and he pruned away much of the 

1 Pliny, Ep* iv, 9. The alleged practice of Vespasian, of appointing 
greedy procurators whose ill-gotten gains he could later appropriate (Sue- 
tonius, fas?, 1 6, 2), sounds apocryphal. 


formality that had been growing up; there were no longer grades 
of admission to the imperial presence, for Vespasian made himself 
equally accessible to all 1 . He abolished too the custom of searching 
all who -were admitted to the presence 2 ; Claudius, mindful of the 
assassination of Gaius, had first introduced it, Vespasian was 
sufficiently confident to dispense with it. He did not fear the 
consequences of assassination, for he had provided against them : 
he even forgave conspirators freely^ jokingly remarking that they 
were fools not to realize what a burden or cares the Principate 
carried 3 . *It will be hard/ judges Suetonius., *to find one instance 
of an innocent person being punished, unless when he was away 
and knew nothing of it or at least against his will or when he had 
been misled 4 .' Here was a real clemency and tolerance, utterly 
different from the much-lauded dementia of Nero. He won 
men over to serve under him because he did not spare himself^ 
and worked as hard as he asked others to work. Two of his pre- 
decessors he obviously regarded with admiration, Augustus and 
Claudius. We have already noted how much of his legislation 
aimed at developing and safeguarding the laws of these two states- 
men : it is significant that much of his coinage deliberately copies 
the coinage of Augustus, and that he placed his amphitheatre in 
the middle of the City because he was informed that Augustus had 
intended to build one there, significant too that he completed the 
Temple of Divus Claudius on the Caelian, and restored his cult. 
It was a fitting reward that he should take his place next after 
them on the roll of deified emperors; that, after Divus Augustus 
and Divus Claudius, Divus Vespasianus should be handed down 
to the gratitude of posterity, 


Vespasian dead Titus succeeded as a matter of course; 011 the 
24th June 79 he became princeps^ and that same day received the 
titles of Pontifex Maximus and Pater Patriae. He had one child, 
Julia, a girl of about thirteen^ but no son ; his brother Domitian 
was bound to be his heir, and Titus protested he should be his 
partner and his successor. But he did nothing to confirm his 
protestations: Domitian remained as before Princeps Juventutis; 
he held a consulship in 80 with his brother but he received no 
share of proconsular imperium and no grant of tribunician power. 

Sec Pliny, 2V*//. xxxnr, 41, who praises Vespasian *aequaliter publi- 
o principem.* ^ Die LX, 3, 3. 

Aurclius Victor, Getes* xx, 3. 4 Suetonius, resp 15* 


There was a lack of sympathy between Titus and his assertive 
and ambitious brother and nothing could heal it. It was plain 
that he distrusted him; Domitian retorted by complaining that 
Titus had tampered with Vespasian's will and hy assiduously 
undermining him. 

Men had dreaded Titus 9 accession, remembering his ruthless- 
ness, his extravagance, and his affair with Berenice, but he com- 
pletely falsified their expectations. There were no executions, no 
trials for maiesta$\ on the contrary informers were publicly scourged 
and then sold into slavery or banished to those islands to which 
they had often sent victims* Court life remained on the same 
modest level as in his father's day. Berenice, who apparently 
returned to Rome, he again dismissed. In the enthusiastic accounts 
which have come down he stands out as the ideal frinceps^ soli- 
citous for the welfare of all and loved by his people. Under forty 
when he succeeded^ handsome, brilliant and gracious, the stormer 
of Jerusalem, the favourite of the soldiers, fluent both in Greek 
and in Latin, equally adept in the arts of peace and war, all that 
he did only increased his popiilarity and esteem; when he diet! 
after a little over two years* rule he had become (in Suetonius.* 
phrase) 'amor ac deliciae generis humani/ 

The little we know of his laws and actions reveals a paternal 
and equitable spirit* He put a stop to two evil practices; the first 
was one by which informers who had failed to not their victim 
on a charge under one law tried under another, the second wan 
one by which they tried to invalidate a dead man's testamentary 
dispositions by challenging his right to free status- The first Titus 
prohibited altogether, the second he forbade after a term of years 
had passed; this term was fixed by Nerva and by Marcus Aurelius 
later at five years 1 . 

He showed a like kindly spirit in meeting two disasters which 
befell Italy. The first was a fire at Rome, which destroyed, among 
other buildings, the Portions Oetnviae with its libraries, the I scum, 
and the recently restored temple of Capitolinc Juppitcr and so 
made a large rebuilding programme necessary, The second was 
the famous eruption of Vesuvius on August 24 A. p. 7% which 
overwhelmed Pompeii and Herculaneum. Here he showed, as 
Suetonius records, "not only the anxious care of a hut 

the love of a father/ He had senators appointed by 'lot to act as 
curators for the ruined district^ and assigned the property of those 

1 Suetonius, Tit. 8, 5j cF. Dig. XL, 15, I and 4. Titus aitto El>oliJicd one 

of the two praetors whom Claudius had put in charge d* 
i, 2, 32, 


who died intestate to the relief of distress. It was in this eruption 
that a friend of Titus lost his life, the elder Pliny: he went 
impelled by scientific curiosity about the phenomena of the erup- 
tion, he stayed to rescue panic-stricken fugitives; 'quod studioso 
animo inchoaverat, obit maximo 1 / 

The games that Titus gave at the opening of the Colosseum 
were lavish and splendid, lasting a hundred days; his benefactions 
were frequent and liberal. Tradition remembered with praise a 
remark of his at the close of a day when he could not remember 
any benefit conferred * Friends, I have lost a day ! * Some ancient 
critics and most modern have seized upon this characteristic and 
drawn from it the generalizations that, had he lived longer, he 
might have been a second Nero, and that his liberality drained the 
Treasury. Both seem ill-founded: by his dismissal of Berenice 
and the frugality of his private life he showed he could control 
himself, and the evidence for wastefulness is not strong. True, 
by one edict he confirmed all beneficia granted by his predecessors 
to corporations or individuals; but it may be remarked that any 
berteficia that had passed the critical scrutiny of Vespasian must 
have been well-deserved, and that all succeeding emperors fol- 
lowed Titus* equitable practice. The fact too that he reclaimed 
some of the subsiciva suggests that he had all his father's financial 
shrewdness, and had no intention of wasting public money. 

Loved though he was, he had to face the danger of conspiracies* 
Yet we hear that he forgave all plotters, even promoted some. 
It was partly a wise clemency, partly fatalistic composure- Himself 
a soldier, knowing* his family had come to power by the strangest 
of destinies, he felt like the Illyrian soldier-emperors of two 
centuries later that * empire was a gift of Fate ! >2 But against his 
own brother this could not avail him, though he remonstrated 
with him with tears. Whether Domitian assisted Mm out of life, 
as various traditions assert, cannot be told, but he certainly did 
not lack the will to do so, Titus was attacked by a fever and died 
in his father's country-house at Reate on September 13, 81. His 
death was greeted by a spontaneous outburst of mourning and 
affection, such as were manifested for few rulers, and his deifica- 
tion naturally followed* One discordant note alone sounds through 
the chorus of praise and that was from the Jews, who, hating the 
destroyer of their Temple, ascribed to him an agonizing end; to 
the rest of the world he was Divus Titus, undeniably to be 
reckoned among the good rulers that Rome had enjoyed. 

1 Pliny, Kf. vx, 1 6, g 2 Aurdius Victor, Cats* x, 4. 



The death of Titus left no doubt as to his successor, and 
Domitian galloped away from his death-bed to be acclaimed as 
Imperator by the Praetorians that very day (13 September, Hi). 
The Senate made 110 difficulty about conferring upon him all the 
usual powers: from September 14 Domitian counted his years of 
tribunician power, and by the end of the autumn he had also 
accepted the titles of Pontifex Maximus and Pater Patriae, anil 
had conferred upon his wife Domitia the title of Augusta* 

He was a man of very different stamp from his brother. Born 
in 51, he had lived through days when his father was out of favour 
at court and so had known poverty and neglect; there is nothing 
to show that he had received a good education, and throughout 
his reign he was content to let others draft his letters, speeches 
and edicts* In the critical autumn of 69 he had been besieged 
upon the Capitol, and had only escaped by disguising himself 
as a follower of Isis. Then, for a few months before the return 
of his father, as representative of the ruling house he had sud- 
denly enjoyed power: he used it to the full, issuing commissions 
and making appointments so widely that Vespasian said it was 
a mercy that his son did not send a successor to him. But with 
the advent of his father things altered: though he rode behind the 
chariot of Vespasian and Titus on their triumph, though he was 
allowed to hold the consulship seven times, though he was given 
the titles 'Princeps Juventutis* and Caesar and was plainly 
destined for succession some day, that day was to he far off. 
Vespasian refused all his petitions to be sent campaigning; he 
gave him no share in tribunician power nor in real responsibility. 
Domitian retired and turned to the consolations of poetry: his 
enthusiasm was probably genuine enough- throughout his whole 
life Minerva was his patroness and things Ctrcek his passion but, 
there is nothing beyond the flattery of his dependents to suggest 
that he achieved greatness in literature, and we need not regret 
the disappearance of his poem on Titus* Jewish War or of his 
tract on The Care of the Hair 1 . Minerva was, after ail, goddess 
of other things besides Literature, and what 'Domitian wanted 
most was glory in war and a controlling hand in administration* 
Power and consciousness of power things for which he hud 
longed were his at last, and he meant to use them to the full. 

1 For his poetry sec Pliny, NJL pr<uf. 5, and Quimilian, tmL thw*. 

x, i, 91. 


It will be convenient to relate briefly affairs at Rome and In 
the court-circle down to the time of his assassination, and then 
to consider his administrative and legislative record. But at the 
outset the reader must be warned that the study of his reign Is 
hedged about with difficulties. The epigraphic evidence Is scanty ? 
and contemporary literary sources, especially the poets, mostly 
sustain a fortissimo of adulation. In notable contrast those who 
survived him, such as Pliny and Tacitus, give full vent to their 
loathing. The short Life of Domitian by Suetonius, though It 
embodies material of great value and maintains a more balanced 
tone than might be expected, has little hint of chronology and Is 
marred by some unaccountable omissions. Book LXVII of Dio 
Casslus, which is mainly preserved in XIphilinus, affords a chrono- 
logical framework, It is true, but, apart from that, little more than 
the conventional tradition. Generally speaking this tradition looked 
upon him as but one more instance of a ruler ruined by power, 
and placed him in the class of Gams or Nero, 

Much of this Is exaggerated, yet a large residuum of truth 
remains* Domitian was in some ways unfortunate. His claim 
to rule rested not on the rescue of an empire from ruin or on 
any overwhelming prestige, but simply on the fact that he was a 
son of the divine Vespasian* But twelve years was not enough 
to root the Flavian dynasty deep, and DIvus Vespasianus could 
not bequeath to his descendants the same veneration as Divus 
Augustus. If Domitian had possessed a less autocratic temper or 
a more genial personality he might have secured power for his 
family* But though endowed with a fair share of the ability and 
shrewdness of his father he lacked the good humour that can 
render efficiency palatable, A student of astrology, given to 
spending long hours in solitude, grim and Ironic, treating with 
contempt even those he invited to his table, a lover of austere 
Icgalism and archaic correctness, his constant reading was the 
records of Tiberius * reign, and the two men had much in com- 
mon. But whereas hesitation and uncertainty led Tiberius on into 
false positions, Domitian knew his own mind from the start; 
what fills Tacitus and Pliny with horror Is no occasional act of 
vengeance or outburst of passion * but the fact that Domitian *s 
cruelty was calculated and deliberate,, conceived and carried out 
In pursuit of a definite aim. 

That aim was the unconcealed exaltation of the Princeps Into 
a ruler pre-eminent over Senate, People and Army, and the con- 
sequent lowering of all to the grade of ministers and servants. 
Domitian held the consulship frequently: from 82 to 88 con- 


secutlvely he was consul ordinarius, then In 90, 92 and 95. Tt 
might be merely the continuation of the policy of his father and 
brother, but it resulted In his holding the office seventeen times, 
more often than any frincefs before. But the consulship alone 
did not give him all the prestige he sought^ In the early years 
of his reign disturbances on the middle Rhine offered him the 
chance of that military fame and those victories for which he 
longed so ardently (p. 162). But while detractors belittled his 
conquests and mocked at his victories as sham^ he used them 
eagerly to enhance his eminence still further. After his triumph 
in late 83 he assumed the cognomen Germanicus, and issued coins 
announcing It and proclaiming his conquest of Germany 1 ; hence- 
forth he wore the dress of a triumphator even in the Senate-House, 
and was attended by twenty-four lictors. On the model of his 
father he was given cemoria -potestas^ apparently early in 85, but 
Instead of resigning after eighteen months he continued in the 
exercise of power with the title of censor p?.rpefuM$\ and thus 
possessed permanently absolute and undisguised control over the 
personnel of the Senate, a control which he did not hesitate to use. 
The commemoration of his victories was to pass into the calendar^ 
for September and October were renamed CJermanicus and 
Domitianus 3 ; these titles were certainly used during his reign, 
though they did not outlast his death. 

In private affairs he showed himself equally autocratic, lie 
had destined his cousin T. Flavins Sabhius as his partner for the 
consulship of 82; at the election in 81, the herald, by sin unlucky 
slip, announced him not as consul hut as Imperator. At the 
moment Domltian took no action but he would not: endure even 
the suspicion of an equal* and before the end of 84 he had got 
rid of Sabimis, on an unknown charge 4 * It was rumoured thstt 
his wife Domitia had a lover in Paris, the dancer; Domitian killed 

1 Suetonius, Dam* 13, 3. Dessau 1997 shows that the cognomen <Jer- 
manicus had been taken by 3 September, 84. For coins of 84 and HS with 
legends GERMANICUS and of 85 with CJERMANIA CAPTA sec Mattingly-Syden- 
ham, op. cit* U 9 p. 159 sg. and p. 1 86* 

2 'I he title of CENSOR PBRPRTITUS on coins of late 85, Matting! y-Sydenhnm, 
op, cit. IT, p. 161 $q 

3 No certain instance of the use occurs till A,D. %% R tfen/w. //// i, 
Recto n. c, 9, 

4 Perhaps on^thc ground of conspiracy; if so, the scnaicirg whasve exile* 
Jerome records in 83^4 may have been suspected accomplices, and perhaps 
Xiphilinus 219, 8 is a muddled recollection of this- Sabiuug* death involved 
the disgrace and banishment of his friend and counsellor, DID of 

Die Chrys. Or. xui, x. 


him and divorced Domitia, probably in 83. In her place he now 
took the widow of Sabinus, his own niece, Julia, though not as 
wife but as mistress 1 ; but it would seem that about a year later 
he took back his divorced wife, and the two women lived together 
with him in the palace. 

Further ostentation of his power and position followed. The 
suppression in 86 of a revolt of the Nasamones in Africa afforded 
him the opportunity of declaring to the Senate * I have ended the 
existence of the Nasamones/ and from now onwards courtiers 
and poets greeted him as * Master and God'; it is just possible 
that he used this style himself (p. 41). More display came when 5 
in this same year he instituted four-yearly games,, upon the Greek 
model., in honour of Capitoline Juppiter; Rome was to have its 
Olympian games, with contests in literature. In chariot-racing, and 
in athletics. Over them he himself presided, in Greek dress, 
wearing a golden crown with medallions of Juppiter, Juno, and 
Minerva embossed upon it, while his fellow-judges wore crowns 
upon which among these gods his own effigy appeared as well 2 . 
Into the Quinquatria, the festival sacred to Minerva, he also 
introduced literary contests, and he celebrated these yearly at his 
villa upon the Alban Mount (p. 34)* By these foundations he 
honoured the two deities, Juppiter and Minerva, whom he most 
respected,, and in whose honour he had built temples in Rome, 
and he perhaps hoped to impose something of Greek refinement 
upon the Roman populace. But by this, like Nero, he simply 
alienated the aristocracy; we have only to read Pliny's approval 
of the abolition of similar games at Vienna in Gaul 8 , to appreciate 
how deep would be the feeling against such practices being intro- 
duced into the capital. 

Nor was the situation abroad favourable. In 84 or 85 Agricola 
was recalled, wisely, in view of events in the North-East, but 
a source of discontent to those who shared Agricola's views : in 
86 the newly-consolidated Dacian kingdom, inflicted a crushing 
blow upon a Roman army (see p. 170^.), which the boasted an- 
nihilation of the Nasamones could hardly offset. Dissatisfaction 
at last began to issue in plots against this second Nero; on 
September 22 in 87 the Arval Brethren are found sacrificing *oh 
detecta scclcra ncfariorum 4 / It was probably the first serious 
danger Domitian had encountered, and trials may have lasted 

1 For the date of these occurrences see J. Jansscn, 61 Suetoni Tranquilli 
Pita Domitiani, p. 54 $q. (on c. 10, a). 

2 Suetonius, Jbem* 4, 4, 3 Pliny, JEp* iv, 22. 

* CJ.L. vi, p. 


some time 1 , but we have no details of any plot and, cannot 
profitably conjecture the names of the conspirators. 

October of the year 88 witnessed the holding of Ludi Saecu- 
Iares 5 by which Domitian not only celebrated the passing- of one 
more saeculum in Rome's long history, but perhaps intended to 
impress on men's minds the coming of a new and glorious Flavian 
Age. His coinage shows how great a stress he laid upon the 
celebration, and it is even possible that he deliberately anticipated 
the date for one hundred and ten years after the Augustan cele- 
bration would have brought them to 93 because he was anxious 
to give the Roman People at this time a spectacle at once solemn 
and heartening: if not, his mathematicians were badly out in their 
reckoning. But if Domitian dreamed that the celebration would 
have an edifying effect on the Empire he was to have a roxijjfh 
awakening. Scarcely were they over when alarming news reached 
the capital: L. Antonius SaturninuSj the legate of Upper Germany, 
had been acclaimed as Imperator by the legions at Moguntiaeum 
and was in open revolt (p. 172). The danger was urgent; 
Saturninus had been in correspondence with others, he had sum- 
moned barbarian tribes to assist him, it might be the beginning 
of a movement such as had overthrown Nero, and in the depth 
of winter (mid- January, 89) Domitian hastened northwards. 

But before he had got far the danger had collapsed., thanks to 
the promptitude and loyalty of L. Appius Maximus Norbimus, 
the legate of Lower Germany., and by the cod of January the 
Senate was already proclaiming fervent thanksgivings and Vows 
for the safe return of the Princcps 2 , But Domitian did not return : 
he continued his march to Moguntiacum and there made inquisi- 
tion* Though Maximus, with a courage that docs him credit, 
had burned Saturninus' correspondence, some of Saturninus" ac- 
complices were known and more were suspected; there were 
executions, the extremest tortures were used to extract confession 
or information, and of those found guilty two alone obtained 
pardon. Saturninus^ head was sent to Rome to be exhibited on 
the Rostra, and Domitian soon after turned eastwards to deal with 
an invasion of the lazyges (p. 176), 

It had been a great deliverance: in Rome itself the UHU;I! vows 
were made and poets execrated the dead traitor, A less untwl 

1 The notice in Jerome under the eighth year of Domittun, 88/g, 
plurimos nMKum in exilium mittit tttyne occidit may refer to a cnmimiatmu 
of these trials, or, more likely, it records the results of tin* suptm*sioi 
of Saturninus. 

2 The dates are known from the vows of the Arval Brethren (J I L 

FX, p, 517. 


memorial arose in the South of Italy, where a citizen of Bene- 
ventum dedicated in his native town a temple to Isis ? 'the great 
mistress of Beneventum/ with obelisks in front of it which 
Domitian had ordered to be fetched from Egypt; the whole 
temple., apparently, was an ex voto for the safety and return of the 
Emperor 1 . But neither Italian deities nor foreign goddesses could 
relieve his suspicious mind, for the conspiracy of Saturninus had 
given him a shock from which he never recovered. From 89 his 
rule became more tyrannical, since he saw conspirators and rivals 
around him everywhere. He began to listen favourably to delatores 
and to those who played upon his fears, and once an emperor was 
willing to listen there were not lacking men to inform. Chief 
among these were M\ Aquilius Regulus, A, Didius Gallus 
Fabricius Vcicnto, and the blind L.Valerius Catullus Messallinus, 
but there were others whose names have been handed down to 
infamy, a rhetorician Pompcius, a dancer Latinus, and a so-called 

* philosopher' Seras. 

Aided by these creatures Domitian struck blow after blow 
against those who seemed for any reason formidable. By an edict 
in 89 he banished philosophers and astrologers from Rome 2 , and 
during the next years he steadily eliminated the objects of his 
fear or resentment. He dared not trust influential generals or 
governors: C Vettulenus Civica Cerialis, a proconsul of Asia, was 
charged with conspiracy and executed even during his tenure of 
office, probably in 90^, and a governor of Britain* Sallustius 
Lucullus, was put to death for allowing a new kind of lance to 
be named after him instead of after the Emperor 4 . Men of 
ability and reputation withdrew from public life; Sextus Julius 

1 (X Marucchi In Not, degli 8c(wt> 1904, p. 118; A. Krmau in Rom* 
Atttt. vnr, 1^93, p. 21 o and in f Z*cits. /I agypt* Sprmhc und jHtrtum$kunde> 
xxxiv, 1896, p. 149. 

2 But the mention of the 'philosopher 1 Boras among the informers, and 
the approval Domitian officially bestowed on Flavins Archtppus, another 

* philosopher' who was not above acting as delator (see Pliny, Ep x, 58 [66] 
and 8 1 [85]), suggests that Domitian had no objection to * philosophers' 
who fell in with his views, only to those who preached sedition. In much 
the same way Statins or Martial can with impunity praise Cato* whereas a 
suspect could not. If only the exact words or the enactment had been pre- 
served our information on the interpretation to be put on * philosophers* 
would bo far bettor. 

: * It was shortly before Agricola'ti turn to draw lots for Asia and Africa 
(Tacitus, jfgric, 42), and at this time proconsulship normally came about fif- 
teen years after consulship (sec R- Heberdeyin Jtihre$htfte t vm 9 1905^ p. &3&). 

4 Suetonius, Dom* rex The date may be any year between 85 and 90 j 
that adopted here seems most likely to me present writer. 


Frontinus went unemployed* C Julius Cormitus Tertullus lived 

In retirement 3 Herennius Seneclo held no post after the quaestor- 
ship; Agricola, who had been living unobtrusively at Rome 
since his return from Britain, was not allowed to proceed to the 
governorship of Syria, which Domitian had hinted should be his, 
and did not dare let his name go forward for the province of 
Asia 1 , Seventy years experience of maiestas had supplied in- 
formers with a stock of useful precedents and had taught them 
how easily trivial matters could be worked into serious accusations, 
but some of the charges are so vaguely recorded that it is im- 
possible to give any detailed account. 

The fate of Mettius Pompusianus is typical : he was rumoured 
to have an Imperial horoscope, and to possess a map of the whole 
empire; he had made from Livy a collection of speeches by kings 
and generals, and had given some of his slaves hated names like 
Mago or Hannibal. The fatuity of such charges is reminiscent 
of those brought in the earliest years of Tiberius (vol. x, jx 62,8), 
but there was no Tiberius presiding to dismiss them with scorn ; 
instead, Pompusianus was driven into exile on Corsica, and in 9 1 
he was executed. His disgrace appears to have involved other 
members of his clan, for M. Mettius Rufus, who had been ap- 
pointed Prefect of Egypt in 89, disappears from records at this 
date and his name has been erased on some documents, while 
his son Mettius Modestus, who had dared to revile the notorious 
informer Regulus, was sent into exile 2 . This same year toc^ 
a distinguished noble, M', Acilius Glabrio, was first compelled to 
fight in the arena at Domitian's Alban villa, and when he emerged 
successful, was exiled; a rhetorician called Mater nus was executed 
for reciting an exercise against tyranny 8 , and we ought probably 
to assign to this same period the execution of another rhetorician, 
Hermogenes of Tarsus, who was killed for lampoons against 
the Emperor, while his slave-copyists were crucified* Kveii pro* 
vincials-were not safe, for it is nearly certain that the trial and 

Frontmus ' 

P- 30*)* 

2 The connection Is not certain but seems highly prohibit*; src A, Stem, 
D/V romische Ritterstanel 9 pp. 337 $qy> Pliny* Kf*. i* 5> 6, shows that Mcftius 
Modestus had been exiled before the trial of Arulenus Rttsticus. 

; * Die txvn, 12. ^Hc majr be one with Curiatius Matcrmi* a spc*ukcrr in 

the Diahgus de clarls oratoribut) where the discussion recorded is presumed 

to have taken place late in Vespasian's reign. A man who find written 
tragedies on themes such as Cato and Domitius could easily be accused. 


execution, on an unknown charge, of the wealthy Athenian Hip- 
parchus, the grandfather of Herodes Atticus, falls within these 
years 1 . His vast landed estates were confiscated, and though "some 
funds may have escaped, his property must have meant a con 
siderable accession to the imperial chest. 

These cases can be dated with some approach to certainty: 
there remain other victims about whom little is known beyond 
the name, for though the nature of the charge is sometimes indi- 
cated the date is quite obscure. To have been a friend of the 
Emperor was no protection: M. Arrecinus Clemens had been 
for a brief space Prefect of the Praetorians to Vespasian (p. 7, 
n. i), yet though he was then a favourite of Domitian, he was 
one of those condemned to death. C. Julius Bassus, another 
friend, suffered relegation and was not restored till after Domltian*s 
fall. Salvidienus Orfitus was first exiled on a charge of conspiracy 
and then put to death, while L. Salvius Otho Cocceianus was 
executed because he had celebrated the birthday of his uncle, 
Otho, as a day of rejoicing. 

Such is a part of that melancholy roll of sufferers, of which a 
full list was afterwards drawn up by various writers. But the 
effects of this policy of terrorism had so far been limited in range. 
The city-populace had its shows and games and was supplied with 
food, and Domitian had been able to gratify it by the sight of 
two triumphs in November 89 (p. 175). The legionaries, too, were 
satisfied by the victories gained and by the re-assertion of Roman 
supremacy i*i war, and their loyalty was confirmed by the recent 
rise in pay, one-third as much again, which their Imperator had 
awarded them, and by the generous grants of immunity from 
various taxes and burdens which veterans received^. The persecu- 
tion fell mainly upon the Senatorial and upper classes, and how 
they felt is well shown by Pliny's account of his visit to Q. Corel- 
lius Rufus 3 . Rufus had been legate of Upper Germany in 82, 
and was doubtless a fair sample of the administrative class; In 
old age and retirements though racked by pam ? he clung to life, 
*so that I can survive that brigand for one day at least/ 

Yet in fairness to Domitian it should be recorded that his 
administration^ as will be seen later (p* 39)3 was keen and 

1 See P, Graindor, Un milli#rdair* antique* pp* 1217, He is perhaps 

the man recorded in Die Chrys* Or* vn 1 i $q* 

2 For an example see a papyrus in Mitteis-Wilcken, Grund^uge ttnd 
Christ, i, ii, no. 463: an improved text is offered by F Schehl in ^^gyptm 9 

xrii, 1933, p. 136. The date of this is between Sept* 88 and Sept, 89, and 
must fall after the suppression of Satu minus* 
s Pliny, JBp. x* 12* 


efficient; evil he may have been, but his servants were acknow- 
ledged to be good 1 ^ and many of the men who were to hold 
distinguished positions under Tnijun served their apprenticeship 
under Doxnitian. Tacitus and the younger Pliny are, famous 
examples; but there were many others, men who though they 
might disapprove of the reigning princcps yet realized the neces- 
sity of a Principate. There is nothing to confirm the, suggestions 
of Domitian's enemies that he was ruled by favourites or freed- 
men,: his secretaries, Claudius, tepaphroditus, and Abuseuntus, 
were kept in their place and did not dominate his councils* 2 . Nor 
were the informers secure; though these later prosecutions stand 
in singular contrast to the principle that Domitian had enunciated 
at first *a -princeps who does not punish informers encourages 
them' he was not under their thumb; Veiento, Regulus and 
Mettius Carus survived his reign> but Arrecinus Clemens and 
Baebhis Massa, who had been informers,, were punished. It would 
be truer to say that Domitian's anti-Senatorial policy brought him, 
just as it had brought Nero, into conflict with opposition; against 
that opposition he might rely on informers, or use soldiers as 
agentS"-pro e Docateurs (p. 41), biit all whom he used were alike his 
servants^ and he was alone responsible for his policy* 

It was upon the remnants of the Republican opposition that 
the next blow fell. Though during the second half of 92 I >omitian 
had been absentfrom Rome, superintending the. campaigns against 
the Suebi and Sarmatae (p. 176 jy.), by January of 93 he had re- 
turned. But no action was taken immediately: he waited till after 
the death of Agricola (23 August, 93) and then in the winter of 
93 and during 94 he launched his attack* The first victim was 
apparently the younger Helvidius Priscus, son of the revolu- 
tionary (p. 7)* Though a consular he was living in retirement, 
but he had written a farce about Paris and Oenonc which I )omitian 
interpreted as a satire upon his own relations to his wife* Whatever 
the charges preferred- whether treasonable libel or abstention 
from duties the matter was represented as urgent and dangerous, 
and troops lined the Senate-House: his accuser Pttblkhts Certus, 
a man of praetorian rank, obtained his condemnation and actually 
helped to drag the condemned man away 3 . The next victim was 
Junius Arulenus Rusticus, who had published a panegyric upon 

1 S,H.A. jtUx* Sev* 65* See below, p. 41. 

2 Claudius had probably succeeded Pallas in the post of & ratiombus in 55; 
under Domitian he fell Into disfavour and was exiled* StauuK, Kiht* "m, 
I54-W- and Martial vx, 835 for the fate of Epaphroditua sec p, 32, 

3 It was this action^ an ex-praetor laying hands upon an <sxcctHul v which 
aroused such horror; Pliny, Ep. ix, 13, 2 and Tacit u*, jfgrie* 45* 


Thrasea Paetus; for this he was condemned and executed, and 
his book, like that of Cremutius Cordus (vol. x, p. 630), was 
ordered to be burnt. With these two the destiny of a third man, 
Herennius Senecio, was too closely linked for him. to escape; he 
had not held any official post after the quaestorship, but he had 
written a Life of the elder Helvidius Priscus at the request of his 
widow Fannia and he was an enemy of Regulus; Mettius Carus 
acted as prosecutor, he was condemned and executed, and his 
book banned. Though these three alone were killed, heavy punish- 
ment fell on their relatives and members of their circle: Fannia, 
for instigating Senecio to write the life of her husband, had her 
estates confiscated and suffered relegation, as did her mother the 
aged Arria (widow of Thrasea Paetus), together with another 
member of the group, Verulana Gratilla, and the brother of 
Rusticus, Junius Mauricus. Finally, by a senatus comultum in 
95*5 Domitian drove all philosophers not only from Rome but 
from Italy, and so teachers and preachers such as Artemidorus 
(the son-in-law of Musonius), or Epictetus, left Italy to wander 
or to find a home elsewhere. 

On the ist of January, 95, Statius, with the bold vision vouch- 
safed to minor poets, could discern his emperor Vising with the 
new sun, among the mighty stars, yet more brilliant than them 
and greater than the early dawn-star 2 / Domitian might well have 
been satisfied as he surveyed the world beneath his feet; there 
was peace in the Empire, the Dacian king had acknowledged his 
overlordship and sent his brother Diegis to accept the diadem 
from his hands (p. 176), the temples were full of statues of him 
in gold and silver dedicated by his admirers 3 , and he had so 
terrorized the Senators that he had them subservient to his will 
whenever he appeared in the Senate-House. One more group 
yet remained to stir his suspicions^ and this group involved his 
own family* Flavins Clemens, a cousin of Domitian, was married 
to the Emperor's niece, Domitilla; he was an easy-going, slothful 
creature who had so far kept in favour; indeed iDomitian, de- 
spairing of an heir of his own, about the year 90 had proclaimed 
two of their children as his successors* had given them the names 
of Vespasian and JDomitian, and had appointed Qumtilian to be 
their tutor 4 . In 95 Clemens was consul ordinarius for some four 

x For the date here adopted see W. Otto, Site, bay. jikad* 1919, no, 10 
(csp. pp* 4354) and 1.923, no* 4* The senatus consultum is referred to by 
GclHus, N.jt. xv, i x, 4, 

85 Statius, Silv. iv, 1,3 $qq> 3 Pliny, Pan* 52, 3 and 4, 

4 For the date see Jansscn, &p cit* p. 72* 


months, but scarcely had he resigned his office when, with his 
wife and with several others, he was called upon to answer an 

accusation of neglect of the State religion (ertfitvtes). It n\:\y he 
that this accusation was due to their being favourers of^Jevvish 
or Christian rites (p. 42), but whatever the precise implications 
attaching to the word atheotes> it proved fatal to Clemen^ ami to 
the exiled Acilius Glabrio, for both were executed; OomiHIla was 
spared but sent into exile. There may have been others involved 
but these are the only names that have come down to us. 

Unimportant though Clemens was, his murder sealed the fate 
of his murderer; if a creature *conteniptissimae inertiae* could 
be so treated, who was safe from attack? Not the .Praetorian 
Prefects, for Domitian put them on trial even while they were in 
office, so that T. Pctronius Sccundus, the Prefect of Kgypt, was 
summoned early in the year 96 to take up the vacant post with a 
certain Norbanus 1 , Not the palace frecdmen, for the Ktnperor, 
with senseless cruelty, ordered tine execution of his a libdlh 
Epaphroditus, because some twenty-seven years before he had 
helped Nero to commit suicide. Flattery and abasement before the 
'Master and God* seemed the only way of escape 2 ; even moderate 
men were not immune from suspicion, for- as was subsequently 
discovered- Domitian had received and filed informations against 
both Pliny and Nerva. The suspense and dread of the hist few 
months must have been appalling*, and it could be ended only by 
Domitian's death. For their common safety all parties, Domitta 
herself, the two new Praetorian Prefects, Kntellus the successor 
of Epaphroditus, Parthenius the chamberlain, and various minor 
officials of the palace, joined in a plot. But first, they must find 
another <princep$^ for there must be no civil war ami no rival 
claimants, and so they approached Cocceius Nerva, sin elderly, 
amiable and distinguished jurist of some literary pretetiBtom 
(p, 1 88 s$>*). His natural fears of a trap were overcome; he con- 
sented and the plot could proceed* 

It was by now September* The conspirators secured the Instru- 
ment they needed in a freedman Stephanas. He had been a 
procurator of Domitilla and had her exile to avenge; more, he 
had been accused of misappropriating money and could hope for 
little mercy if Domitian heard Ms case. Tradition speaks of omens 

1 Petronius appears to have been in Egyijt till April of 96 (J. Le 
Uarmfe remain* & Egypt c^ p 512); his appointment, !>io I,XVH I 5* 

2 Die r-xvn, 13 mentions a certain Juventiiw Otaug (urusumubly the 
Juvemius Cclsus of Plinjr, Jp* vi, 5, 4), who was accused of cotwpiraej and 
only escaped by worshipping Domitian. 

I, vi] SEPTEMBER THE i6xH 33 

and of warnings enough to put the dullest on their guard: perhaps 
Domitian had some intimation of his peril. There was no time 
to lose, and on September 1 6 Stephanus attacked him 5 under the 
pretence of handing him a paper. Into the details of the last 
scene and the ferocious joy of the narrators there is no need to 
enter; the tyrant was killed, Stephanus was dispatched by those 
who rushed to help their master, the other and more prudent 
conspirators escaped unscathed for the moment, and Nerva was 
proclaimed prince fs that very day. Domitian ? s body was burned 
privately by his nurse, Phyllis, who laid the ashes in the temple 
of the Gens Flavia that he himself had built. Already the Senate 
was condemning his memory, and men were pulling down his 
statues; she mingled the ashes with those of his niece, Julia, 
Titus' daughter., so that they might rest undisturbed, 


Thus far we have seen Domitian mainly in his relations with 
the Senatorial class; they regarded him, with reason, as a per- 
secutor and their description of him as a tyrant has prevailed. 

There is, however, another side to consider, how he administered 
the Kmpirc, 

In the capital his first task was to feed the populace and keep 

it contented, and this he achieved. Three times he distributed 
congmria^ amounting in all to 225 denarii a head, the last one 
apparently in 93; he also gave games, wild-beast hunts, races and 
a mimic naval battle, and for these purposes he erected two schools 
for gladiators, and constructed a naumachia by the Tiber, But 
he was eager to offer the people more refined amusements than 
these; the Capitoline Agon which he founded included contests 
(in the Greek manner) not only in sport but in literature, and 
tor these he built a Stadium and an Odeum in the Campus 
Martins. Building suited well his taste for display and mag- 
nificence; besides, the death of Titus and the fire of the year 80 
had left much work unfinished and much to repair and recon- 
struct. In consequence the achievement of his principate in 
building was solid and splendid, lie restored the Sacpta, rebuilt 
the temples of Sarapis and of Isis (in front of which he placed 
obelisks specially brought from Egypt 1 ), the Pantheon, and the 
Baths of Agrippa, and the Porticus Octaviae (with its libraries), 
all of which had been damaged; to fill the libraries he sought for 
books far and wide, even sending scribes to Alexandria to copy 

1 See G, Marucchi in BulL Com, Jrch* XLY, 19x8, p* 103. 


rare ones. In addition to work on the Colosseum (p. 7 7 # *?) he com- 
pleted the Baths that Titus had begun and his temple to Vespasian, 
which now became the temple of the deified Vespasian and the 
deified Titus 3 and he also dedicated in the Campus Marti us a 
colonnade^ the Divorum Portions, containing two shrines to their 
memory. Between the Forum Augusti and the new Forum Pads, 
he swept away the untidy Argiletum and constructed a Forum 
of his own, which was later appropriated by Nerva (p. ?H i). On 
the Quirinal he built a temple to the Gens Flavia, and on the 
Capitol, from which he had escaped in 6y, disguised and in 
humiliation, he erected in gratitude a huge temple to *Juppiter 
the Guardian' with an image of the god holding him in his lap 1 . 
Most splendid of all was the restored temple of Juppiter Optimus 
Maximus on the Capitol, which with its columns of Pentelic 
marble, its doors plated with gold, and its gilded tilcs 5 was one 
of the wonders of the world 2 . But Domitian was determined, 
like Nero, to be properly housed; in Rome the architect Rahirius 
spent eleven years refashioning the imperial palaces, and on the 
Alban Mount, in the early years of his reign, there arose a 
magnificent villa, with theatre and amphitheatre close by, over* 
looking the waters of the Alban Lake, upon which, in summer, 
the imperial barge could float in unbroken calm and silenced 
Detractors complained that Rome was shaken by the weight of 
the lorry-loads that rumbled through the city and that vast sums 
were poured out on his private pleasure. Yet much of the money 
was not spent upon these or on display alone; apart from the 
temples, prosaic but useful work was certainly curried out by his 
engineers upon the water-system of Rome, and granaries for the 
storage of corn and spices and pepper were built. Still it cannot 
be denied that this huge programme of building was costly: the 
gold-work of the Capitoline Temple alone accounted for 12,000 
talents, and during the twelve years between B I and 93 for that 
year seems to mark the completion of the progrumme-~<aorniau$ 
sums must have been expended. 

On that important aspect of an emperor's policy, the financial* 
we have little accurate information though plenty of assertion* 
Domitian had no intention of doing things shabbily: his constant 

1 Tacitus, Hist. ni 74: Suetonius, Dom. 5. Cairn with the legend 
JXJPFITER CXTSTOS were minted in 86 (MattitmIy~Sydenham f cit. H, fx 194), 

2 Plutarch, Public&la^ 15, Coins with the legend CAMT. it&tfrrr, were 

struck in 82 (Mattingly-Sydenham, op. cit. ir, p. 182). 
_ s Pliny, Pan, 82. See, for the modem excavations, the articles by Lugli 
cited in the Bibliography* 


instruction to his agents was *ne quid sordide facerent. 5 But to 
add to the cost of buildings and shows 3 there were the increased 
pay of the soldiers and wars between 81 and 93 to finance, while 
no new sources of revenue had been tapped. Money must have 
been needed; whence did it come ? To Pliny the Younger, writing 
in the reaction that followed Domitian's death, Domitian was a 
monster of rapacity, whose lavish grants to the populace were 
drawn from murder and confiscation. Suetonius, more detached 
and writing a little later, notes a deterioration in Domitian ? s 
character and is inclined to explain it by the hypothesis that 
* contrary to his natural disposition lack of funds made him 
predatory and fear made him cruel,' and this explanation seems 
more reasonable. 

From the start, however, he had all his father's financial 
shrewdness. Though in Italy and Rome he was lenient enough 
at first (p, 38), elsewhere taxes were gathered in strictly. The 
Nasamones in Africa are said to have revolted because of the 
exactions of the collectors, and the poll-tax upon Jews was 
rigorously enforced, giving rise to many malicious prosecutions 1 * 
Other sums, too, went to enrich the Imperial chest: Frontinus 
declares that Domitian appropriated to it the income that accrued 
from the aqueducts 2 ; Pliny avers that any means was employed 
to rake money into the Fiscus prosecutions under obsolescent 
laws (such as the Lex Voconia of 168 B.C.), trials for mates fas with 
subsequent confiscations, the encouragement of slaves to lay in- 
formation against their masters, and so oti s . On one point we 
can certainly trace a definite hardening, for those condemned to 
relegatio no longer retained their property but forfeited it to the 
Fiscus 4 . Apart from that the evidence is not overwhelming, for 
in the last years of the reign, when prosecutions followed each 
other fast, most of Domitian 's building programme had been 
carried out, the wars in the North were over, and expenses should 
therefore have fallen 5 . It may well be that under Domitian the 
process of centralizing the finances of the Empire initiated by 
Claudius (vol. x, p, 687) was being carried still further, but we 
must not overlook the possibility that these trials and confiscations 
were not the result or an economic need, but were rather part 

1 Dio ucvn, 4, 6* Suetonius, Dom. 12, 2. Hence the propaganda-legend 
on Nerva's coins FISCI JUDAICI CALUMNXA SUBLATA (p. 191). 

2 Frontinus, de aquae duct ilm* 1 1 8* 

3 Pliny, Pan, 42* Yet In the one recorded instance where a slave accused 
his master, Domitian punished him, Joseph us, fit& [76], 429. 

4 Dig, XLVHI, 22, i. 5 R. Syme in J.R.S. xx, 1930, pp. 65-70. 


of a definite political purpose 5 that purpose being the complete 
crippling, financial and moral, of the aristocratic opposition. In 
the present state of the evidence, however, it would be unwise 
to pronounce definitely, for we have no means of judging the 
Emperor's intentions: we can only vie w 5 through ^the^glass of a 
hostile tradition 3 his actions. In fairness to Domitian it must be 
noted that, however great the financial stringency, he did not take 
the fatally easy step (that Nero had taken and that Trajan was to 
take) of debasing the coinage; indeed recent researches suggest 
that he raised it somewhat above the Neronian level 1 , 

But in spite of all that Domitian spent on pleasing the populace 
he was never its servant, like Nero; he would allow it spectacles 
and shows, but he disapproved of mimes and farces and forbade 
actors to appear in public. It was a step that Tiberius would have 
applauded (vol. x, p. 648).* and it is amusing to watch the efforts 
Pliny makes to minimize a measure of which he approved but 
which a tyrant had ordained 2 . It well illustrates the rigorous and 
reformatory side of his character, and leads to a consideration of 
Domitian's own legislation and of his attitude towards jurisdiction* 
An archaic severity pervades much of it, whether it be the revival 
of half-forgotten laws or the enactment of new ones. One salutary 
enactment came early, a veto on the practice of castration, and 
he followed this up later by restrictions on child-prostitution and 
other such practices 3 . He enforced the provisions of the Ixsx 
Scantinia s which imposed a fine upon those found guilty of un- 
natural vice, and he put some restrictions upon prostitutes : they 
were deprived of the right to ride in a litter, and were not allowed 
to accept legacies or inheritances, in effect were reduced to the 
status of freedwomen 4 . It was an easy and grateful task for his 
enemies to retort that he himself was tainted by most of the vices 
that he burned to repress, but even a glance at the poems of 
Martial and Juvenal suggests that Rome badly needed such 
legislation^ and much of it was re-enacted by succeeding 

Some phrases in contemporary poets imply that he enforced 

1 G, Mickwitz in Jrcte$ 9 ar, 1933/34, p, JL 
58 Pliny, Pan. 46, 

3 Suetonius, D&m^ 7; Dio LXVH, 2 35 Ammiaiu Marc, xvm, 4, 5. Possibly 

it was a reform of his censorship, Statins, $itv* iv, 3, 13; for later meajurct 
see Martial ix, 5 (6) and 7 (8). 

4 Suetonius, Dom. 12 and 8, 3. It may be noted that in the Coptcw 

tariff-table (Q.G .LS. 674), belonging to his reign, the landing-tax for 

prostitutes is extremely nigh, 1 20 drachmae. 


the provisions of the Lex Julia de achilteriis 1 , and where his 
religious sense was shocked as well he showed himself implacable, 
A case of adultery by Vestal Virgins had been overlooked by his 
more charitable father and broth er, but in 83 when three Vestals 
were found guilty^ their lovers were relegated and they themselves 
merely allowed to choose their mode of death. Seven years later 
he had grown austerer still: the Chief Vestal, Cornelia, was 
guilty; her lovers (save one, Valerius Licinianus) were beaten to 
death with rods, and Cornelia was condemned to be buried alive. 
It was, indeed, the traditional punishment, but the infliction of 
it sent a thrill of horror through the City, and men whispered 
that Domitian had merely gratified his cruelty 2 . 

As an upholder of the hierarchical order of society he tried to 
discourage over-indulgence to slaves and easy manumission ; thus 
he warned the court of the recuferatores that they must not grant 
to a claimant the free status to which he pretended, except on 
convincing proof, and he went so far as to restore to his former 
master an escaped slave who had actually risen to centurion's rank, 
Two decisions of his, preserved in the Digesf y show a harshness 
of temper typical of him and quite out of touch with the humaner 
trend of the times ; the first, a senatus consultum^ ordained that if 
a man could prove that there had been fraudulent or collusive 
manumission of a slave, he could own that slave in future; the 
second laid down that if a slave, on some charge, had been put in 
chains awaiting trial, the usual pardons and remissions granted 
by the Senate on days of public rejoicing should not apply to him; 
he could not be loosed even though his master should offer bail, 
and the trial must be carried through 3 . It was a measure that 
wrung a protest from the equitable Papinian, yet it is likely 
enough that throughout Domitian plumed himself on being a 
supporter of the Augustan Roman tradition, and many of his 
actions hark back to the first $>rincep$. He paraded an anxiety 
to uphold the dignity and status of the different orders* As in 
Augustus* time, authors of lampoons against noted men and 
women were severely punished and their writings burnt* A certain 
Rustius Caepio had directed in his will that a sum of money 
should be paid to senators as they entered the Curia; It was a prae- 

1 Statius, Si fa* v, 2 1025 Martial vr, 2 and 7, 

2 Pliny, Ep. iv ii; Suetonius, Dom. 8; Die JLXVII, 3 (though he does not 
mention Cornelia). 

3 Dig. XL, 1 6, I j xtvnr, 3, 2, i. What view Domitian took in the letters 
he sent to a legate *de agnoseendis liberis et restltutione nataliuxn' (Pliny; 
JEp. x, 72 [77]) or about thrtpt&i (*b 75 [79]) we do not Jbw>w 


tlce possible and frequent in small municipalities, hut Domitian 
cancelled the order 3 as not befitting- the dignity of the Senate 
of Rome, Herein he was undoubtedly right, as in his other pro- 
visions for public order and decency; to the Kqiutcs he again 
secured their coveted fourteen rows of seats in the theatre^ and 
he insisted that Roman citizens must, on public occasions, wear 
the distinctive Roman dress, the toga, 

At the beginning of his reign he displayed a lenity and generosity 
over money-matters which Suetonius candidly admits. There wan 
to be none of the cheese-paring policy of his father; the Kiseus 
was full and there was no need to hunt out lon^-stiuuiin^ debts; 
those more than five years old were cancelled, and in future an 
informer must bring his charge within a year and was liable to 
exile if he failed to prove his charge. Malicious accusations, even 
though they might bring gain to the Pise us, he severely dis- 
couraged* By constant attendance at the courts, like Tiberius or 
Claudius before him, he secured the impartial administration of 
justice against influence or bribery; indeed judges who took bribes 
found themselves degraded* I Ic refused to accept u legacy if the 
testator had left children alive, and in his treatment of the problem 
of subsidita) he showed the same liberal attitude 1 . To evict occu- 
piers after long undisturbed possession, as his father ami Titus 
had done ? was extremely unfair; to leave things as they were 
would subject them to the vexatious attentions of informers, I le 
took the wise and generous step of granting the M/wV/zw in free- 
hold to the occupiers 2 , and solved the problem for good* 

A second incursion into agrarian matters wan not so helpfuL 
Like others in his time he was struck by the predominance of 
vine over wheat in Italy and elsewhere, and feared a possible 
shortage of corn supplies* His remedy was drastic; by an edict 
he forbade the planting of any more vines in Italy, while in the 
provinces existing vineyards were to be reduced by one half and 
the ground given over to wheat-growing :i . SucfoniuH adds that he 
did not follow the edict up vigorously; it would certainly have 
had to face considerable opposition and possibly it was not intro- 
duced in some provinces at all, but it is thought 4 that in Northern 

1 Probably his notice was first attracted to the* problrm by a dtKpurc 
between Falerii and Firmum which he settled in 82: Brims, #w/"* 7 82. 

2 Suetonius, D&m, 9, 3; c (hrpus Jgnmm$rum Rm i, pp. 41, 97. 

s Suetonius, D&m. 7, 2 and 14, 2; Statius, AVA\ iv -j t is; i'htlostratu*, 
Vita jfpoil. VI, 42* 

4 M* Rostovb&eff, Soc and Keen. Hist. p. 189 and p. 545 (more fully in 
Ital ecL p. 237 ,ff ) 


and Central Gaul and to a certain extent In the Danubian pro- 
vinces It was put into effect. 

About his administration of the provinces there is little that can 
be affirmed, for evidence is singularly lacking, and it may be that 
Nerva and Trajan have absorbed some of the credit due to him. 
Following the condemnation of his memory many of his monu- 
ments were overthrown and mention of him erased, and this 
makes knowledge difficult. Suetonius 1 records his deliberate 
opinion that *he gave such attention to controlling magistrates 
in the City and governors in the provinces that they were never 
more just or more moderate; since his death we have seen many 
of them accused on every kind of charge.* In this strict control 
of his helpers he resembled his model Tiberius. The only recorded 
trial, however, is that of Baebius Massa, the proconsul of Baetica, 
prosecuted by the whole province, which chose Pliny and Heren- 
nius Senecio as its advocates: Massa had been an informer, but 
Domitian put no obstacles in the way, and in 93 he was duly 
tried and condemned 2 . Similar was his treatment of an avaricious 
aedile; he made the tribunes hale him before the court of the 
Senate on a charge of extortion. 

The regular routine work was conducted smoothly: in Italy 
roads were mended and improved 3 , and in the provinces, especially 
in Asia Minor, the road-system was kept in a high state of effi- 
ciency 4 ; the repairs recorded here show how all-important was 
swift communication between the Danubian and the Eastern 
armies. Over the whole Empire generally the work of romamza- 
tion was going on steadily, and there is no need to note 
Domitian 's contribution in each province, for he was simply 
carrying on the task left him by his father. As might be expected 
from his disposition, he showed a marked sympathy for the cities 
of Greece. lie allowed Corinth to mint money again, he held 
the office of Archon Eponymus at Athens, in 84 he undertook 
to repair the temple of Apollo at Delphi, and in 93 he rebuilt 
for Megalopolis at his own expense a colonnade that had been 
burnt down 5 . Equally keen was his interest in the historic cities 
of Greek Asia Minor, such as Rhodes and Ephesus; he apparently 

1 Suetonius, Dom* B 9 z, 

2 Pliny, Ep. in, 4, 4; vir, 33. 

3 Repairs on the "Via Appk, Statius, Sih. iv, 3; DIo txvn, 14 (c. A,D. 95): 
the Via Latina, Statius, AV/y* iv, 4, 60, 

* G.LL. ni, 312, 318 and 14184**: I.G.R.R. iv, 1194 and 1598. 
& Corinthian coinage, Head, tfist. Num.' 2 p. 404; Athens, LG m, 461 A, 
654; Delphi, DItt, a 821 A and C; Megalopolis, Jinn. fpig. 1893, no. 128* 


extended the boundaries of the temple of Ephesian Artemis, and 
in that city there stood his own temple with a colossal cult-statue 1 . 
Apart from one or two isolated dedications, as that^ from the 
Koinon of the' Lycians or from Smyrna 2 , little remains in ^ the 
peninsula to record his principate. To the south-cast, the little 
client-kingdom of Chalcis was absorbed into the province of 
Syria in the year 92, and the principality of Emesa suffered the 
same fate; Judaea remained quiet. In Egypt we find a canal being- 
dug to connect the Nile with Alexandria, a few dedications and. 
the tariff-table at Coptos, but that is alt 3 . On many even of these 
monuments the abhorred name has been obliterated: others pro- 
bably endured even worse treatment, flung down and shattered 
to pieces. 

The personnel sent out to govern these provinces was good; 
many who afterwards attained high places under Trajan or I ladrian 
had already been employed by Domitmn. To mention a few 
names T, Avidtus Quietus, P. Calvisius Ruso Julius IYontinus f 
C. Caristanius Pronto, Tacitus himself, and the two Asiatic 
senators, Tib. Julius Celsus Polemacanus and C. Anfius A* Julius 
Quadratus, all held commands or governorships in his reign 4 , 
Good fortune has preserved for us an admirable edict issued by 
one of his governors, JL Antistius Rustieus, who was legate of 
the enlarged province of (rulatia-Cappadocia between ^4 and 94, 
Owing to a severe winter and scarcity of corn the price of wheat 
had soared high in the city of Antioch-hy-Pisidia, and in answer 
to a petition from Its Senate Rusticus orders a general declaration 
of all grain in store to be made by all the inhabitants who must 
be prepared (after making reasonable deductions) to sell the 
surplus at a price to be fixed by him. The price, *as it is most 
unfair that men should make a profit from the hunger of their 
fellow-citizens/ is fixed at a little above the normal*. The only 
complaint that could justly be made was that Domttiun gave $omc 
of the highest offices to knights and trccdmcn; thus he included 

1 Rhodes: I.G.R.R. iv, 030; xi?x; 1152; Ditt* 3 Hi 9. 
Jrch. jfnz. Beiblatt, 1933, col. 43, and 1931-2, cols. 58 $f/t/, A fragment 
of a letter to Chios, LG.&.R. jy, 931, For ciricn called aft*r Dotnttian tee 
also PtoL r, 7, 5, Head 21 , p. 656, and Malalas, x,, p, 266, i a, 

a LG.R.R. m, 548 and iv," I39jb. 

a LG.R.R. r, 1099, 1183; for dedication* see 1 1 }8, 1241-4, d 

4 A convenient summary in Stcch, M* cit.i Avidius Qutctu^ Ditt^ 22 f 
Caristanius Fronto, Dessau 9485, Calvisiui Ruso, J.R.S* ni f 191 f, p. -|oi, 

6 See J.R.S. xiv 1924, p* 180 (^Jnn* ipig* 192$, no. ia6), * 


knights as well as senators In his consilium^ he placed his Praetorian 
Prefect, Cornelius Fuscus, at the head of the legions in the Dacian 
War, and doubtless his emergency order to a procurator, C. Mini- 
cius I talus, to take charge of the province of Asia upon the death 
of a proconsul, caused scandal among the nobility 1 . But to that 
the answer Is that most of these were energetic and trustworthy 
men, and that their choice was a concession to efficiency like the 
sending of the Greek-born Senators to positions of trust in the 
Eastern, though not In the Western, provinces. As his successors 
approved his choice of governors, so they continued In office his 
capable secretary Cn. Octavlus Titinius Caplto 2 , who held the 
post of Latin secretary under both Nerva and Trajan. 

A final topic remains, his deification. Both Suetonius and Dio 
assert that he styled himself * Master and God* and liked to be 
so addressed 3 . Inscriptions, naturally enough, bear no trace of 
this, but the fact that In 89 Martial can speak of an 'edictum 
domini deique nostri,* and the scornful remarks of Pliny and 
Dio Chrysostom later leave no doubt that in the second half of 
his reign Domitian did accept a form of address which implied 
his divinity and mastership 4 . In fact he was moving, though with 
greater deliberation and more calculated policy, along the path 
that Gaius and Nero had already trodden. As god-monarch of the 
Roman realm, placed above all both in appearance and in fact 5 , 
he needed no Senate to partner him but only ministers and ser- 
vants; hence the opposition of the Senatorial order and its pitiless 

Terrorism certainly flourished during the last years : even sol- 
diers could be used as spies and agent$-pro*VQcatettr$. An inter- 
esting passage in Epictctus deals with the theme of how confidence 
begets confidence 6 : it proceeds 

That is how imprudent men are trapped by soldiers in Rome, A soldier 
in civilian dress conies and sits by you and begins by abusing Caesar, where- 
upon you, regarding the fact that he began the abuse as a sort of guarantee 

1 For the career of C. Minicius Italus see Dessau 1374. 

2 For Capiro's career see Dessau 1448. 

3 Suetonius, Dom, 13, 25 Dio r.xvrr, 4, 7 (dated 856). The text here 
reproduces in a condensed form the argument of an article published by the 
writer in H<aru TheoL J2w. xxvin, 1935, p. 5* especially pp. 325; it is 
not possible to give all the references here, 

4 Martial v 8 I , with which c x, 72, 3 (written after Domitian's death) ; 
Pliny, Pan, 2 and 52: Dio Chrys. On XLV, i. 

5 A. Alfftldi, Rom. Mitt. L, *935 pp* * sqy. (esp* pp. 103^. and 128 sy.) 

6 Epictctus* Disf* *v, 1 3, 5, 


of trustworthiness, say all that you yourself feel; the next moment you are 
bound and being led away. 

Such a passage implies quite definitely that the masses as well 
as the nobles could fall victims on charges of treason. And 
Domitian *s assertiveness seems to have introduced a new practice: 
for three generations men had been accustomed to take an oath 
by the genius of the Princeps, but always voluntarily and not as 
an official form; during his reign we find for the first time men 
swearing in public documents by the genius of the living Emperor, 
while those who wished to Hatter him began to make sacrifices to 
his genius. It looks as though Domitian sei/ed upon this volun- 
tary action and turned it into a test of loyalty; u man suspected or 
accused might now save himself and prove his loyalty by offering 
sacrifice before the image of the prhtcep$\ if he refused he could 
then be charged with atheotes (p. 32), Dio Cassius notes the 
Increasing number of trials for this offence in the last years 1 , and 
this charge not only served possibly to get rid of obstinate and 
Republican-minded people, but it brought Domitian info conflict 
with the Jews and the Christians, neither of whom could, acknow- 
ledge his divinity. An Emperor who demanded worship from his 
subjects might one day, like Gains, demand it of the Jews too, 
and revoke existing edicts of tolerance, Jewish tradition relates 
that, about 95, the Senate was deliberating* on a decree expelling 
all Jews from the boundaries of the Kmpiix% and that a famous 
rabbi, Gamaliel II, with some friends^ made a hurried winter 
journey to Rome to avert the threatened persecution 2 , Christian 
tradition too branded Domitian as a persecutor, who sought out 
the kindred of Jesus Christ and punished adherents of the new 
religion. It is curious, certainly, that Flavins Clemens wan claimed 
as an adherent both by Jews and Christians, and that archaeo- 
logical evidence suggests that both Domitilla and Arllius (lahr!o, 
who were punished apparently for athevte$i were, if not Christian, 
at least favourably inclined towards the sect (p. 255), We cannot 
doubt that in the last three or four years both Jews and Christians, 
as well as Romans, had much to fear from an Emperor who could 
demand worship of himself as a proof of loyalty. But the dagger 
of Stephanus put an end to their fears as to the fesirs of others. 
The last ruler of the Flavian house perished without: mi adult 

1 Dio LXTO, 14, i, 2, 

2 For the Jewish references sec tfarv. TheoL Rev. xxvux, !<).$<;, P 34* 
Suetonius, Dom. 12, a, may mean that Roman progelyftii wen* liable* to 
punishment, but the passage is very doubtful; Jews who had evaded payment 
of the tax were punished presumably for evasion and not for being fuwst. 


heir. For twenty-seven years the family had directed Roman 
affairs : It remains to estimate their achievement. 

Martial, writing some years after Domitian was safely out of the 
way, dismisses his reign curtly as almost counterbalancing the 
good that Vespasian and Titus had done: 

4 Flavia gens quantum tibi tcrtius abstulit hercs, 
Paeiie fuit tanti non habuisse duos*. 

Yet his verdict merely shows that he had not lost the art of 
pleasing those in power: Indeed, once * liberty* was the order of 
the day some of the unlikeliest people invested In busts of Brutus 
and Cassius. 1 To agree with Martial would be utterly unjust. 
Domitian 's cruelty to a certain class was real and terrible, but it 
was limited in its Incidence: he paraded absolutism, giving to the 
Imperial position the airs of divinity and the pomp of a despot; 
apart from that he did little to undo and much to forward the work 
or his father, and that work was a great one. To take defence first: 
for some two hundred years Rome had been accustomed to 
enlarge her territories by the conquest of the barbarian : now, in 
the background, forces were moving* and gathering that would call 
a halt to Roman aggression and test her defences; In the two 
succeeding chapters the reader will see something of the strength 
of the peoples that lay outside, to the East and North of Rome's 
boundaries* The frontiers needed attention: the development of a 
more scientific defence-line, the provision of better communica- 
tions, the disciplining of the legions under experienced comman- 
ders (of which an account will be found in the fourth chapter), 
were among the most enduring things that Vespasian and his sons 

While the empire was protected against attacks from without 
the Flavians strove hard to improve Its internal stability. Finance 
was set on a better basis, the administrative machine was made to 
run more smoothly, and an aristocracy of office, recruited from 
good provincial as well as Italian stock, was created to help control 
it. There were few famous Republican families left by the end 
of the first century, and still fewer believers in a Republican 
system ; the Flavians established the Principate more firmly, and 
in the new aristocracy they and their successors found a class that 
was willing to co-operate with them. It is worth observing with 
what care Vespasian chose his officers: whether it was Petilius 
Cerialis, or Julius Agricola, or Q Paconius Agrippinus, all had 
1 As, for example, Cn, Octavius Titinius Capito; Pliny, f* i# 17* 


had previous experience of the provinces to which they were sent, 
He was not afraid to employ men of Eastern origin to help ad- 
minister the Eastern regions: Tib. Julius Cclsus Poicmacanus and 
C. Antius Julius Quadratus were adleeted by him to the Senate 
(p. io) ? and afterwards held important posts. Traditional Roman 
sentiment may have felt some resentment at such appointments, 
especially at the loud fanfares with which they were celebrated in 
the East 'in all time', records one inscription, *he was fifth from 
the whole of Asia to enter the Senate, and from Miletus and the 
rest of Ionia the first and only n but of the generous wisdom of 
such a policy we can feel no doubt. And Vespasian knew well how 
to reward good service with office and honours ami was shrewd 
enough to point the contrast between his predecessors* treatment 
of such officials and his own. 2 

Within the framework of the Empire thus defended and served 
by more capable officials the process of romani/ation wan going 
steadily on. The foundation of colonies, the ^muting of municipal 
rights, the encouragement of education (whether by the creation 
of professorial chairs and endowment of new schools, or by the 
immunities and privileges granted to teachers), were all instru- 
ments of this process, and this work was simply continued and 
developed by succeeding emperors. 

Most important, perhaps, of all the Flavian achievement, was 
the restoration of confidence. Had the anarchy of 6; not been 
quickly suppressed, Mediterranean civilization might have been 
badly shaken; c the empire was adrift and in danger/ judges 
Suetonius: it was brought back to safety. The steps taken to 
control the armies are related more fully elsewhere (pp. 395 Jff*); 
here we need only record that they succeeded, Vespasian and 
Titus had. both led armies, and Domitian was wise enough to go 
In person to the scene of action and so had the troops devoted to 
him. What danger there may have been that the Empire should 
become the prize or plaything of armies or generals was averted, 
and the legal basis of the Prindpate remained civilian. To Jill 
the provinces and peoples comprising the Empire the Flavian 
dynasty restored that confidence in the lasting strength of Rome, 
in her aeternitaS) which had tottered for a while; such was the 

1 For these Oriental Senators sec C, H. Walton* y./f.A'. xtx, 19*9, 
p. 28; for the inscription quoted see A, M. WwnJward, JR.ti./t. xxvin, 
1 9267, p. 1 20 (ironically enough we do not know the name of the man)* 

2 See, for example, Dessau 986, where Vespasian, in moving the grant 
of ornanienta trmmphalw to Tl Pkutius Silvanu* AHiunuHi condemn* by 
implication Nero's tardiness in recognizing merit 


message of the coins that promised AETERNITAS and linked that 
promise to the Princeps. A striking example of this sentiment has 
survived in an inscription from Acmonia in Phrygia, 1 The town 
had received by the will of a rich citizen a considerable benefaction : 
Senate and People ordain how the money is to be spent; then 
comes the clause 'and this decree is to be guaranteed by the 
eternity of the empire of the Romans/ Belief in the eternal 
lasting power of Rome was restored, and with it belief in the fore- 
sight and loving care (providentia) of the emperor. This unceasing 
anxiety for the welfare of the peoples of the empire was an aspect 
on which some early rulers, such as Augustus and Claudius, had 
already laid stress; from now on it grew more prominent still. It 
was that 'principis sollicitudo' of which Suetonius speaks in 
recording Titus ' activities after the eruption of Vesuvius ; from 
the time of the Flavians Providentia (or its Greek equivalent 
Pronoia) comes to be looked on as a natural attribute of the good 
Princeps; to that loving care all. Senate, People and subjects look 
for safety and deliverance, 2 Materially and morally, in strength 
and in confidence, the Flavians restored a shaken realm, and that 
is their great achievement. 

* LG.R.R. iv y 661. 

2 See M. P.. Charlesworth in Haru. TheoL Rev. xxix, 1936, pp. 107 sqq. 




E difficulties that beset attempts to determine when man 
J[ first appeared on any part of our glohe, are increased in the 
case of Northern Europe by its repeated glacial periods* It may 
be presumed that by far the greater part of the t races of man 
which probably existed from interglacsal times have 1 been com- 
pletely obliterated by the destructive action of the ice on the 
earth's surface. It is therefore significant that the most northerly 
dwelling-place finds of indisputable Ivarly-Palacolithic character in 
Germany He outside the latest North European ice-cap 1 1 which 
is considered to fall in the Magdalcnian period of West Europe, 
No decisive evidence that the Baltic districts also were inhabited 
as early as the last interglacial epoch has yet been advanced, but 
it is possible that it may be forthcoming from certain parts of 
the Scandinavian peninsula. (Jeologists have, indeed^ proved that 
parts of Norway, particularly the coastal districts from Bergen to 
Lofoten, were not entirely covered by the latest land-ice. If has 
also been conjectured that the very ancient Nm*ffv Norwegian 
Komsa culture discovered during recent yearn has ics origins in 
the interglacial epoch, It is, however, worthy of mention that finds 
which are probably still older than the Komsa dwelling-places 
found hitherto have been made on the west 1 coast of Sweden* 
These finds arc thought to belong to the period about 9000 ii.e* 
If it cannot jtt be regarded as certain that the Komssi culture 
represents an immigration from the south, it is true* of the Lyngby 
culture 2 , ascribed to the Mcsoiithic Age, which is represcntea 
above all by picks or axes of reindeer horn am! is undoubtedly 
that of a hunting people who followed in the tracks of the reindeer 
the receding Ice-edge over the tundras of Northern Europe* 

It is still not known to what race the bearers of the: Komsa and 
Lyngby Cultures belonged, as there are no skeleton remains from 
that period^ nor has any direct connection been traced between 

1 Sec map i in E, Wahk% Dtuttfht 
* Ebert, Reattexifott t vn, pp f 324 $ 


that settlement and the one immediately following it, also Meso- 
lithic, called the Maglemose culture 1 after a place in Seeland. 
During the Ancylus period when the Baltic was a fresh-water 
inland lake, this culture extended over its North German and 
East Baltic shores and, above all, the Scandinavian peninsula. 
There is a find of skeleton remains of this age from Stangenas 2 
in Bohuslan (Sweden), which are ascribed to the Nordic race and 
so mark their first appearance in prehistory. The settlement 
attested by the kitchen-middens on the shores of the Litorina- 
Tapes Sea is a direct development of this civilization. This is also 
true of the numerous Neolithic Age dwelling-places which are 
characterized particularly by an abundance of pottery. 

At the beginning of the North European Neolithic Age (which 
is placed by Montelius, probably too early, about 4000 B.C.) a 
culture with agriculture and cattle-raising appears here. The 
Megalithic graves characteristic of one of the main groups of a 
later stage in the new civilization are regarded as barbaric imita- 
tions of the built graves of the Orient which reached Scandinavia 
by way of the coasts of North Africa and Western Europe, They 
certainly came here by way of England, and they have also been 
interpreted as evidence of an immigration from the west. This 
question must still be regarded as unsettled. On the other hand 
it must be taken as established that the Megalithic grave culture 
of the Baltic regions is associated with that of Western Europe 
and has its centre on the Danish Islands. The German and Dutch 
Megalithic graves may probably be regarded as simplified 
descendants of the Nordic ones. Strong influence from the north 
can also be traced in the German-Dutch Megalithic grave culture. 
Certain types of tools and weapons and the abundant pottery 
attest this affinity 3 . 

Scandinavia and North Germany also show common features 
in the second main group of the agricultural civilization of the 
Stone Age that of the single graves. Opinions vary greatly as 
to the interpretation of these conditions. On the one hand this 
culture, which is marked by beautiful battle-axes and pottery of 
a definite type, is taken to be a Scandinavian culture group which 
spread over adjacent parts of the continent. According to another 
theory it is due to a wave of culture from the south, brought by 
the Indo-Europeans who migrated into the country at that time. 
A third school identifies the Nordic race (Homo eurofaeus) with 
the Indo-Germanic primitive people who spread from South 

1 Ebert, Reallexikon^ vu y pp* 344 sqq* 2 Ib xu, pp. 386 $qq. 
3 U. IX, pp. 44 sqq. 


Scandinavia^ or that region together with North-West Germany^ 
beginning as early as the Stone Age. Where the truth lies it is at 
present impossible to decide 1 . The fact that in Scandinavia- - 
apart from its northernmost parts inhabited by 1 ,apps and, Finns- 
no names of places or of natural features are met with which are 
not of Indo-European origin, deserves very serious attention. They 
invite a comparison with other very different conditions found, 
for example, in Greece. It is thus not impossible that Tacitus was 
right in thinking that the German i were the original inhabitants 
of their country, and it is a tenable view that the North ( iernmn and 
Scandinavian agriculturalists of the Later Stone Age arc largely 
directly descended from the nomads who occupied the land when 
the ice receded. In any event, it is probably right to describe the 
inhabitants of Scandinavia and North Germany between Weser- 
Aller and the lower Oder (or Vistula)" 2 during the Later Stone 
Age as proto-germanic* 

It is more difficult to determine whether the original home of 
the Germanic people included the Kast Baltic countries. Western 
Finland and parts of the former Russian Baltic provinces exhibit 
a Stone Age culture which, in general, shows considerable re- 
semblances to the Scandinavian -though here Mcgalifhic graves 
are not found. Nevertheless, the paucity of the skeleton material 
from this period -entirely lacking in FmlamJ makc& it im- 
possible to draw any certain conclusions (see l>elow t p, 65). But 
it has been assumed both by philologists and archaeologists that 
the Swedish-speaking inhabitants of the present day in Finland 
derive from the Stone Age, The * comb-pottery* on the other 
hand, which is richly represented in Eastern Europe and in 
countries north and south of the Gulf of Finland, is ascribed in 
general to Finnish and Baltic tribes. 

Conditions during the Bronze Age (which in Scandinavia began 

1 Among the abundant literature on these tjttrstim we the following 
recent works: J* Pokorny in Wtirttr und SacheM* xit, 1929, pp. 30$ <??? 

0. Rydbeck, *Thc earliest settling of man in Scamlimiviit/ J/r/# ttrcAafefogiea, 

1, 1930, pp. 55 $qq.\ O. Mcnghin, Weltgcsehicht* dtr Steinxfiti K. Lwy in 
Ztitfcfo.f. wrgL Spr8hwi$$cnsch&fti tvm, 1931, pp, I jtey.i !* Krccffchmer, 
*Die Urgeschichte dcr Gernrtanen und die gcrmanischc Y^autvcrvcbtcbung/ 

Jkundt md Rasseng&Mcht* der Attnsfhhtiti H. Gttiitcrt, ZArr t/nfrung d*r 
Gtrm&nen; Kultur und Sprache, ix, 1934* Sec also the present writer's review 
of the discussion in H. Lundborg and F. J, Liridertt, TAr racial e ft#r0tt& *f 
the Swedish nation* pp. 27 $qq* and Xtitssenkunde d^$ KhwttSMhtn ft" 

pp. 35 m : 

2 Sec K. Jazd^cwskPs map in Praehist. Ztitschr* xxm, 9J2, p, 79 


c. 1800 B.C. 1 ) agree with those of the Later Stone Age in so far 
as the centre of culture lay in Denmark, and still more markedly 
than before. At the same time the boundary towards the south 
is still more sharply drawn than during the Stone Age. Foreign 
influences are more pronounced in North Germany than in 
Scandinavia^ and on the Continent the way is less prepared for the 
development of a national culture. Even in this period, however^ 
traces of Scandinavian influences in North Germany appear partly 
in the shape of imported goods and partly in the development 
and forms of the remains* But the competition of the southern 
metal cultures was too strong., and during the Bronze Age 
northern influences do not extend over the continent as they did 
earlier. On the other hand, Nordic cultures gain in the East 
some compensation for what is lost in the South, South- West 
Finland may now be described as a province of Central-Swedish 
culture. In a lesser degree Swedish influences extend even to the 
countries south of the Gulf of Finland., and clear traces of it are 
found as far east as the regions of Oka and the upper Volga. 

Although the continental part of Germanic territory with its 
largely heterogeneous culture seems less markedly an outward 
fringe of Scandinavia, its civilization shows great vitality* The 
spread of Late Bronze Age razors of Nordic type and certain 
clay vessels has been adduced as evidence of the expansion of this 
culture and its bearers towards the Rhine during that period (see 
vol. vu, p, 66). The rise of the East-German culture group 
(* Grossendor/kultur^ with its centre in Pommerellen (the district 
between the Vistula and the Persante) is also of great importance, 
Its strongly local character indicates that it is deeply rooted and 
tells against the theory that it marks an invasion moving from 
West to East. But it is rich and vigorous and exercises a con- 
siderable influence^ especially on the Bronze Age of Eastern 

The end of the Bronze Age, at the middle of the first millen- 
nium B,C*J shows a cultural weakening in Northern Europe* This 
continues during the early centuries of the Iron Age wnen it is 
characterized by great paucity of finds, and it does not cease until 
the second century B.C. This decline has been attributed to various 
causes^ such as the -Celtic migrations on the continent, which 
interrupted communications with the metal exporting countries, 
That an interruption of this kind actually did play a part is con- 

1 This date (Montclius) h accepted by Gordon Childe, Wien. 
Zeitschr. xnr, 1926, pp. 38^^.; according to several Scandinavian and 
German scholars it is three or four centuries too early. 

C.A.H* xr 


firmed by the fact that the beginning of the renascence seems to 
coincide with the exploitation of the native bog-ore Iron in the 
middle of the second century. It has also been maintained by 

men of science that a deterioration of climate 1 occurred in Europe 
during these centuries. The view that this was a factor In the 
cultural depression finds some support in the repeated emigra- 
tions from Scandinavia which can be assigned to this period- 
those of the Vandals^ the Bxirgundians, the Cloths, and others* 
That these peoples were of Scandinavian origin Is attested by their 
own traditions, their ethnic names, their house-forms, the evidence 
of philology and archaeological data, while the fact that these 
ethnic names appear in Tacitus as those of continental (iermanic 
tribes indicates that their emigration to the continent must have 
begun before the end of the first century B,C, 



The Germania of Tacitus marks the entrance into history of 
the North- European peoples. But long before his time isolated 
glimpses are caught of them 2 . The name of a Scandinavian people 
(the Teutoncs) is first met with in Pythons. Thin Greek from 
Massilia, who made a journey to Britain at the beginning" of the 
fourth century H.C., mentions Thule ? lying six days journey to the 
north of Britain. That country has been identified as the northern 
part of Norway (vol. vn, p. 53). Information about the continental 
part of Germania in other authors may be traced to his work, 
which has Itself perished, The first more detailed description of a 
North-liuropean people Is Polybius* picture of the Basturnac (see 
further, p. 59), whose connection with th<* CJormuni, however, 
It was left for the elder Pliny to elucidate. "The first writer to 
realize that the Germani were a people by itself,, separable from 
Celts and Scythians, was Posidonius (13551 H.C.), in his lost 
continuation of Polybius" historical work* It is from his writings 
that classical authors chiefly derive their picture** of the violent 
attacks of the Cimbri and the Teutoncs the first sign of the 
* blonde peril" threatening the Roman Empire* Im|x>rtant in- 
formation about the Germanicthough sometimes hard to inter- 
pret Is also contained in Caesar's Gallic f'Par* To the decades 

1 Ebert, R&all^ikon^ vii s pp. 6 $qg 

2 For older vaguer notices, not based on autopsy, see 3U Schmidt, 
ichte der deutschen Stflmm, I 2 f pp. I syy. 


immediately before and after the beginning of the Christian era 
belong three sources concerning northern Europe that supple- 
ment each other Augustus* short presentation In his Res Gestae 
of the most important results of his foreign policy 1 , Velleius* 
detailed description of Tiberius' campaigns 2 , and Strabo's geo- 
graphical work 3 . Augustus and Strabo mention the Cirabri, but 
on the whole the Elbe is still the boundary of the world as known 
to the Romans. The summary of the geographical knowledge of 
the time presented by Pomponius Mela shortly before the middle 
of the first century A,D., mentions the Sinus Codanus and its island 
world north of the Elbe. He is here probably referring only to the 
southern part of the west coast of Jutland 4 . Pliny shows himself 
considerably better informed in his Natural History^ in which five 
main Germanic tribes are enumerated. Of the countries north of 
the Baltic he mentions the island of Scadinavia, a word which 
is probably akin to the name of the Swedish province Skane 
(Scania) ? and may be assumed to refer to the southern portion of 
the Scandinavian peninsula. 

In the knowledge of North Europe among the civilized 
people of his time Tacitus' Germania marks a great advance, 
The work, the original title of which is assumed to have been 
De situ et origins Germanorum^ is one of the earliest works known 
to us wholly devoted to the presentation of a geographico- 
ethnographical subject. 

From the first chapter of the Germania we can conclude that 
the shifting towards the south which the distribution of the 
Scandinavian tribes indicates (see above, p. 50) was paralleled 
among the Germanic people on the continent. This becomes clear 
when the contents of that chapter are compared with the evidence 
of archaeological research. In the middle of the last millennium 
B.C., when the southern boundary between the Germani and the 
Celts is easy to trace, thanks to the entirely different burial 
customs of the two peoples^ the Germani practising cremation, 
the Celts inhumation, the conditions in the Saale districts afford 
clear evidence. The territory of the Germani does not extend 
farther south than the Harz and the Celts still occupy Thuringia 5 . 
In the time of Tacitus^ however 5 the Germanics southern boundary 
lies along the Danube. 

He gives the Rhine as the western boundary of the Germani, 

1 26, 2 11, IQ$ sqq, s viz, 290 s$<[. 

4 L. Weibull, Scandi* vn, *934 PP* 89 sqq. 

5 See vol. vn, p* 69 and the maps M&nnus, Brg^Bd* iv, 1925, pL 
vxt 1929, pi. tj vm, *93* pi. i. 



though he himself states 1 that the Mattiaci (around Wiesbaden) 
were clients of Rome and that the area in the angle between the 
Rhine and the Danube (agri decumates) lay within the boundaries 
of the Roman Empire 2 . The statement that the Rhine was the 
Germani's western boundary is also misleading in so far as it 
ignores the tribes living west of the Rhine, some of whom Tacitus 
himself enumerated 3 * Efforts have been made to decide from arch- 
aeological evidence when these Gcrmani cisrhenani mentioned by 
Caesar occupied Eastern Gaul ? and a number of grave-finds have 
been interpreted as indicating that the German! passed the lower 
Rhine as early as in the middle of the last century B,C, (see 
vol. vii, p. 67)* 

Tacitus' statement must be taken to refer to the political 
boundary between the Roman Empire and free Germama. For 
the rest, there are many signs that this boundary was not exclusively 
political, and that before the close of the first century A.D. the 
Romans had made a considerable advance in their endeavour to 
merge the foreign element into the body of the community. It is 
probable that the task of absorbing the western Germanic tribes 
into the Roman Empire was facilitated by the fact that the people 
there were not unmixed. Caesar's statements about the Bclgae 4 
indicate that the Celts had not been entirely driven out* but had 
largely remained in the country. It is difficult to decide whether 
the Germani west of the Rhine had simply become cclticizecl, as 
some scholars have assumed. The grave finds are rather scanty, 
and in addition the two cultures are fairly similar -even that of 
free Germania shows strong Celtic influence during* the closing 
centuries of the pre-Christian era* The fact that the cremation- 
grave culture, which was so vigorous at that time, becomes 
general in these districts shows that in this respect the Gcrmani 
set the fashion. But as regards the period following Caesar's 
conquest of Gaul, it is certain that no cultural expansion, cither 
Celtic or Germanic, went on here,, but rather a fusion with roman- 
izing tendencies* The archaeological material points unmistak- 
ably in this direction. All the commodities which reach England, 
West Germany and Scandinavia especially from the mouth of the 
Rhine after the end of the second century, are provincial Roman 
In character. As a further sign that the Rhine Germani of 
this period are separated from their fellow-tribes reference may 
be made to the fact that of the Germanic fibulae which are found 
in such profusion only a single group is really represented 

1 Germ.a.g. * FortheGermanswithintht*Empircecbclow f pp.526xy^ 
3 Germ. 28-9. * B,G* H, 4. 


here 1 . This may indicate that even in Tacitus' time the Rhine 
was not only a political but also an ethnographical boundary, 
along which classical culture encountered Germanic* 

Thus at the time of Tacitus there lived west of the Rhine a 
number of Germanic tribes, who undoubtedly formed an im- 
portant element in the population of these areas. Both Tacitus' 
account and the archaeological facts referred to above suggest 
that they were in culture, though not in speech, largely denation- 
alized. Even though a number of tribes still proudly asserted 
their Germanic origin 2 we need not assume the existence of a 
Germania irredenta groaning beneath the Roman yoke. The real 
description of the Germani by Tacitus thus begins with his 
account of Germania libera^ the regions east of the Rhine. 


In his account of these *free ? Germanic tribes in the west he begins 
with the Chatti living in what is now Hessen, whom he describes 
in considerable detail and extols for their military virtues. The 
Tencteri and the Usipetes on the right bank of the Rhine, who are 
said to have been skilled horsemen, receive similar praise. After 
a short mention of some other tribes, come the FrisiL These 
people, who inhabited the coast-lands between the Rhine and the 
Ems, had joined the Romans at the same time as the Batavi and 
did them great service during the campaigns of Drusus and 
Germanicus* By a revolt in A.D. 28, provoked by the severity of 
the tax-collectors, they made themselves independent, were again 
subdued in 4647, but joined the revolt of the Batavi in 6970 
and regained their freedom. Tacitus has not much to say about 
the Frisii, but a good deal can be discovered from archaeological 
evidence. The finds which can be referred to them practically all 
come from remains of the artificial mounds on which they built 
their villages (Terpen). The oldest go back to the La T&ne period, 
while several of the later ones contain a considerable quantity 
of both native and imported (Roman) pottery from the early 
Empire* To a smaller extent, also, metal objects are met with, 
among them Roman bronze vessels* These Roman wares in 
Terpen may be regarded as the earliest evidence for the Frisii as 
traders. The transportation of cattle up the Rhine by the Frisii 
is attested in literature from the end of the third century 3 . As has 
been seen, there was considerable export of provincial Roman 

1 SeeO, Almgrcn, 

3 H. Wilkeos, Hansische GcschicktsUStttr, xir 1:908, p. 310. 


wares from the mouth of the Rhine at the end ^of the second 
centuryj and it must be assumed that this was chiefly in Frisian 
ships 1 . The Terpen finds attest connections between this people 
and the Romans as early as the first century, and it maybe assumed 
that this trade began at the time when their waters were directly 
connected with the Rhine by the canal built by Drusiis in 12 B.C. 
(vol. x, p. 362). 

After the Frisii a brief reference is made to their neighbours on 
the east, the Chauci at the estuary of the Wcser now traced in 
archaeological material 2 and on the south the Cherusd, Ar- 
minius' renowned tribe, who,, however, by the time of Tacitus 
had lost much of their power to their more warlike neighbours,, 
the Chatti. Next come the Cimbri, whose name evokes gloomy 
reflections on what the Romans had to endure from the German* 
* tarn din Germania vincitur '. The position of their home-country 
is not precisely stated, but their name is found in the present 
Danish place-name Himmerland, the district south of Limfjordetu 
The home of the Teutones, their comrades in arms (who are 
not mentioned by Tacitus), is also definitely known now. It is to 
be found in Thy, north-west of JJmfjordenu Archaeological 
evidence of these two peoples has now been found in traces of 
extensive abandoned agricultural areas, obviously deserted in 
prehistoric times, and a fortified place in the moor at Borre^. 

Great interest attaches to the account of the Sucbi, the collective 
name for a number of tribes indeed, according to Tacitus, all 
except those dealt with above* This is a single use of the name 4 ; 
Pliny (p. 56) and Tacitus himself elsewhere 5 give to it a more 
restricted meaning. The Suetri are generally made to include the 
tribes in Mecklenburg, Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia*, 
Their habitation is traced in the name Schwabcn, The fact that 
Suebi are placed also on the Eider indicates, perhaps, that they, like 
many other peoples* were invaders from Scandinavia 7 . The next 
chapter, that about the Semnones round the Havel and the Spree, 
who consider themselves the leading tribe among the Suebi, gives 
clear information as to the nature of this tribal alliance. In a sacred 

1 On the Frisian trade to Scandinavia during the Infer prehistoric period 
see E. Wadstein, Saga-Bwk of the Piking Society, xi f 1933* pp. <f syf. 

2 K. Waller, M&nnus* xxr> 1933* pp. 40^. 

3 G- Hatt, Act* archaeobgic*, ri,"pp. **7 *??-$ J. Brttnclated, Ti/stuertn, 

* Cf. his name Suebicum mart? for the Baltic Sea (Ctom 45); P.W, 
Sucbi, col, 567, * Gtrm* 2, 

Schmidt, op. tit. p. 85. 7 p;jy. s^ Swebi, col. 569, 


grove In the territory of the Semnones representatives of all the 
Suebi assemble at fixed times for collective religious observances 
which include human sacrifices. The Langobardi 5 so renowned 
Iater 5 also belong to the Suebi 3 living north-west of the Semnones, 
in what is now Ltlneburg, at the beginning of the century 1 and 
probably also in the time of Tacitus. According to their own 
traditions, they migrated from Scandinavia. It has been assumed 
that they came from the Swedish provinces Skane or Hal land 2 
but spent a short time in Gotland before they landed in Germany, 
a theory which receives some support from the fact that the Gotland 
archaeological material from the pre-Roman Iron Age is strongly 
influenced from North- West Germany* North-German burial 
places of a certain type are unanimously ascribed to the Lango- 
bardi: the men's burial places with weapons (Nienbuttel, Rieste, 
Korchow, etc.), and the women's without weapons (Darzau). 
These burial customs are interpreted as indicating Woden-cult 3 
and their connection with the Suebi has been disputed. 

Another kind of cult-association of a similar nature to that of 
the Suebi is mentioned as existing north of the Langobardi, and 
more detailed information about the nature and object of the cult 
is given. The goddess Nerthus 3 identified by Tacitus with terra 
mater^i is carried round in procession at certain times of the year 
in a covered waggon drawn by cows, and worshipped by the 
people with festive joy and with the laying aside of weapons. 
Here we have obviously the female representative in the twin 
deity of fertility, which is known to us from the Mediterranean 
countries and the Orient, whence this cult spread over the world, 
The old German form of the name Nerthus corresponds to the 
Icelandic Njordr, the Swedish Njord, which is, however, the name 
of the male deity. The Nerthus-worshipping tribes are identified 
with the Ingaevones mentioned by Tacitus 5 , but it may be ob- 
served that Nerthus also was worshipped in Scandinavia, to judge 
from several place-names, e.g. Nartuna in Uppland*. Among the 
seven peoples enumerated by Tacitus are to be noted the Angli, 
with their original tribal centre on the peninsula Angel in Blast 
Slesvig, and their neighbours on the south-west, the Reudigni who 
occupied the territory of the Chanel by the lower Elbe towards 

1 Veil. Pat. ir, 106. 2 W. Schulz, Mannus^ xxiv, 1932, p. 226. 

3 Schulvs, op, cit* p. 223. 

4 Germ. 40. On Nerthus see BL M, Chadwick, The Origin of the 
English Nation t chap. x. 5 G$rm 25 see Hoops, Rea!lexikon 9 p. 181. 

6 Pliny (2V",/ iv 9 96) mentions Inguacones as inhabitants of Scandi- 
navia ana calls them gem prima in Germanic* 


the end of the second century, and who are probably identical 
with the Saxons 1 . On Ptolemy's map (A.D. 150) the Saxons are 
placed on the right bank of the lower Kibe, in the Laucnburg. 
The types of remains, characteristic of both these peoples, which 
are to be met with in England and mark the Anglo-Saxon in- 
vasion., belong however to a later period than the one dealt with 
here. A considerable West-Germanic tribe in this region whose 
name docs not appear in Tacitus is that of the Franks. This name 
is therefore assumed to have arisen later to designate a tribal 
association inhabiting the district between the Rhine and the Ems 
and composed of the Bructeri, Ampsivarii and others 2 . It is 
thought that this group appears in Tacitus as the Istaevones. 

After the diversion to the north which the description of the 
Nerthus people implies, Tacitus turns southward and j^oes now 
from west to east. The first people dealt with are the I lermunduri, 
who lived soxith of the ChattL Philologists associate their name 
with the first element of the name Thtiringerwald, the mountain 
country forming part of their tribal territory 3 . The name of this 
tribe has also been connected with that of the Hcrminoncs, and 
it has been assumed that we must seek in these districts the third 
of the tribal confederations mentioned by Tacitus 4 , This is con- 
firmed by the fact that, according to Pliny 5 , the Her mi nones in- 
habit the interior of Gcrmania and consist, inter <f//W, of Huebi, 
Hermunduri, Chatti and CheruseL That the territory of the 
Hermunduri, or the tribes allied to them, extended far southward 
is indicated by what Tacitus says about their trade with the Roman 
province of Raetia, a trade which was not confined only to the 
neighbouring river^ the Danube,, but penetrated far into the 
Roman Empire* The privileged position enjoyed by the Hermun- 
duri in this respect was the reward for their conduct during the 
critical period in the first century A.P. (voL x, p, 6x9)* They had 
taken no part in the war against Rome led by Arminius and the 

While only vague glimpses of the Hermunduri are caught both 
in literature and archaeological material we arc, on the other hand* 
well informed about the Marcomanni and the Quads* The first 
references to the Marcomanni are found in Caesar** where they 
are mentioned as forming part of Arsovtstus* army* It is assumed 
that at that time they lived between the Main and the Danube in 
the territory evacuated by the Helvetia When the Romans 

1 P.W. s.v. Rcudigni, coL 701. * P.W. JV?A Fnwct, col. 8 j, 

3 See Schttttc, Our Forefathers, rr, p. 152. 

4 Germ. 2. * NJL iv, loo (Hermiones). e KM. I, 51. 


occupied the country west of the Rhine and were obviously pre- 
paring to cross the river and subdue the Germani, the Marco- 
manni found their position insecure, and under the leadership of 
their king, Maroboduus, they marched eastward into Bohemia, 
large parts of which they conquered in the last decade B.C. Maro- 
boduus, who seems to have been possessed of some statesmanship, 
obtained great influence in Central Germany during the next two 
decades, and became leader of a tribal alliance which is said to 
have extended from the Elbe to the Vistula. His power was 
broken by a defeat at the hands of the Cherusci under Arminius 
in A.D. 17, and after the Goths, under the leadership of the exiled 
Marcomannic nobleman Catualda, invaded Bohemia in A.D. 19, 
Maroboduus* empire collapsed, and he himself ended his days in 
exile in Ravenna A.D. 35 (voL x, p. 782 j"^.). 

The Gerniania gives only vague indications of the relations 
between the Marcomanni and the Romans: *raro armis nostris, 
saepius pecunia iuvantur, nee minus valent' 3 . But in the Annals 2 
Tacitus makes" a statement which, short as it is, is illuminating, 
and affords an explanation of one of the most important factors in 
the Germanic culture of the Earlier Empire. When Catualda 
conquered Maroboduus* capital, he found there sutlers and 
merchants from the Roman provinces who had immigrated 
thither *from greed of gain/ It is clearly possible that there was 
some sort of commercial agreement, as Tacitus suggests, which 
entitled Roman merchants and other traders to settle and do 
business within the boundaries of the Marcomannic kingdom. 
The leading cultural rdle of Bohemia within the Germanic world 
at this time is explained in this way. As a transit country for 
Italian exports to Northern Europe it had been of importance as 
early as the beginning of the Bronze Age, Further, as the Romans 
gained control of Carnuntum, first as a summer camp and later 
as a fortress (vol. x, p. 804), the town became a staple place for 
trade with Northern Europe. It is of still greater importance that 
Bohemia now became the centre of a particularly vigorous culture 
built up of Germanic, West-Celtic, Bokn, provincial-Roman and 
purely Italian elements 3 . It was this culture, characterized by 
certain fibulae, buckles,, mounts for drinking-horns, etc., which 
sets its stamp on the whole of the archaeological material of 
Northern Europe during the beginning of the first century. In 
view of the dominating importance of this culture of the Marco- 
manni, its bearers the last people in the West-Germanic group 

1 42. g n, 62, s Sec Volume of Plates v, 4* 


dealt with by Tacitus must also be given a prominent position 
during the Earlier Empire which can only be compared to that 
of the Goths during the Later, 

Tacitus' description 1 of the East Germanic and non-Germanic 
peoples together occupies only about half the space devoted to the 
West Germani, This indicates that the information he could 
obtain about these tribes^ which were farthest away from the 
Roman boundaries, was somewhat scanty. Herein probably lies 
also the explanation which will be dealt with in more detail 
later why the author's own speculations about these peoples 
were given freer scope than before. In spite of their paucity and 
other shortcomings these notes are of great importance, since 
they comprise the oldest extant historical detail about several 
peoples. It is therefore assumed that Tacitus had access to some 
now lost written sourcej or, more probably, to verbal information 
from some traveller. In this connection the Roman knight who 
visited the amber coast has been suggested (sec below, p. 65), 
After having mentioned by way of introduction four little known 
tribes, one of which (the Osi) is generally considered to be 
Illyrian, he discusses In somewhat more detail the Ltigian group 
who are said to occupy the largest area. The tribes cmimerated 
here are also practically unknown to history* Of ethnographical 
Interest are the particulars about the I larii possibly identical with 
the Hirri mentioned by Pliny 2 - that they have black shields, 
blacken their bodies and choose dark nights for their battles. The 
Information about the Naharvali that in their territory they had 
a sacred grove where ancient rites were performed* 'Suggests that 
within their tribal group they played the same part an the Sem- 
itones among the West Germani, and that thus these Lugii also 
were associated in a common cult* Beyond the I Aigil dwell tJbe 
Gotones (Goths), and in the coast regions (of the Baltic) the 
Rxigii and the Lemovii, all of whom arc curtly described as * dis- 
tinguished by their round shields, short swords and obedience to 
their kings/ With regard to the shields, however, it is to be ob- 
served that over the whole of the Germanic territory, besides the 
predominant round shape, other types of shields, both oval and 
many-sided, for example hexagonal, are also met with*. On the 
other hand,, the statement that the short (one-edged) sword 4 is 

1 Germ. 436. 

* In NH : xw 975 Schmidt, &p. at. p. ioa ? identities the Harii with 
Pliny's Chariot 
8 M. Jahn, Afannus~Biblfoth*ki xv% 1916, pp. 199 jryjr. 

4 Sec Volume of Plates v, 10, g. 


specially characteristic of the East Germani at that time is correct. 
But the contrast to which Tacitus alludes between the West- 
Germanic long and the East-Germanic short swords belongs 
to the end of the pre-Roman epoch. In Tacitus 5 time also 
the West Germani used short swords ? but only two-edged of 
Roman gladius type although with certain native features 1 . As 
the Burgundians and Vandals do not appear among the tribes 
enumerated here ? though the latter are mentioned elsewhere 2 it 
has been assumed that they are included in the Lugii 3 . Of 
the Germanic people on the continent (i.e. not in Scandinavia) 
mention is also made of the Veneti and Peucini or Bastarnae, 
Their nationality is stated with a certain hesitation as they are 
said to resemble the Sarmatae. 

In the description of the continental Germanic tribes, the state- 
ments about the Bastarnae deserve special interest, as they are the 
Germanic tribe with whom the classical peoples had come into 
contact previously, and who thereby first made their appearance 
in history. As early as the end of the third century B.C. they are 
said to have appeared in the company of the Sciri at the estuary 
of the Danube, where during the following centuries they were 
allies of Rome's enemies, until they suffered a decisive defeat at 
the hands of M. Crassus in 29 B.C. (vol. x> p. nysy."). Earlier 
Roman sources regard them as Celts or Scythians, and their Celtic 
nationality has also been maintained by modern scholars, but their 
Germanic origin may be regarded as established 4 . The reliefs of 
them which can be studied on Trajan's Column show Germanic 
types with the characteristic knot of hair 5 . This detail, as well as 
their grave-culture, has caused surprise, since these features are 
looked upon as particularly West-Germanic. The explanation lies 
perhaps in the fact that the Bastarnae were a continental Germanic 
tribe, whereas the specific East-Germanic culture was created by 
people who immigrated from Scandinavia, The Bastarnae may be 
considered to have been the first Germanic people to have moved 
down towards the Black Sea from the Baltic, and their road thither 
is indicated by the name for the Carpathians, Alpes Bastarnicae, 

1 Jahn, #, Abb, 146, s Germ. 2. 

8 Pliny (N*H* rv, 99) includes in the Vandals Burgundiones, Varinnae, 
Charini and Qutoties. 

4 R, Much in Hoops, ReMexikon^ s.v. Bastarncn and elsewhere. The 
discussion on the Bastarnae is reviewed by Richthofen in ff^ien, Pr&hist* 
Zeitschr* xix, 1932-1 pp 127 sqq.\ see also Schmidt, op. cit* pp* 86 sqq+ 

* See Volume of Plates v 2, a, b. On the reliefs on the Adamclisi monu- 
ment, see Schmidt, ap at* pp* 93 $qq+ 


known from classical sources. It has been assumed 1 that theirs 
was the peculiar culture which, at the beginning- of the Iron Age, 
had spread over Pommerellen, and is characterized by stone cist- 
graves filled with pottery sometimes as many as thirty vessels, 
many of them face-urns. This culture has been declared to be a 
direct continuation of the Grosssndorfkuhur in the same district 
from the Later Bronze Age (p. 49). The cause of the departure 
of the Bastarnae from the shores of the Baltic has been sought 
in the immigrations from Scandinavia in the closing centuries of 
the pre-Christian era. 

Among the Scandinavian peoples who were the earliest to 
move to the south coast of the Baltic are numbered the Vandals, 
mentioned first by Pliny 2 under the name of Vandili. Their name 
has been associated with the Danish place-name Vemisyssel, Jxit- 
land, north of Limfjorden, which area is supposed to have been 
their original home^ an assumption which receives sonic support 
from the fact that one of the Vandal tribes bore the name StHngae, 
a name probably connected with Saeluml, the old form of Sjaelland 
(Seeland). That in the time of Tacitus Jutland at any rate had 
connections with East Germany appears from the ornamentation 
of the Jutland pottery (meander or meander-like patterns with 
continuous lines 3 ), which agrees with what is found on the pottery 
in that area> whereas in the adjacent West-German territory these 
patterns consist of dotted lines made with a little toothed wheel 4 , 
In Silesia, which obtained its name from the Silingac, and where 
both the latter and other Vandalic tribes thus lived, pottery has 
been found from as early as the first century <:*, closely corre- 
sponding to that in Denmark and Sweden, The researches of 
recent years B have succeeded in tracing with fair certainty from 
the archaeological material (house-foundations^ Inirkl customs, 
pottery) the movement of the Vandals to the continent during the 
second century B.C. The name of the Vandals used to be associated 
with the face-urn culture, but that does not square with the results 
of most recent research, as we have seen above, and their line of 
immigration was not the Vistula but the Oder. 

A closer study of burial culture and types of remains has made 
possible more definite conclusions with reference to the other 
East-German peoples enumerated by Tacitus, In western Further 
Pomerania and round the bend of the river Vistula a group of 
burial grounds can be distinguished, characterized by " '* Brax4~ 

1 E. Pctersen, PorgeschMhttiche Porschungf 9 ir* 2* 

a N.H. IF, 99, ^ a See Volume of Plates v, 6, m. 

4 //;. 6, a. 5 B. von Richthofra, in MtschJcsitn> in* 1931, pp. 21 fff* 


grubengraber^ with girdle-hook 2 and an abundance of weapons s 
among them ornamented spearheads. Rondsen 3 3 lying within the 
area last mentloned 5 Is typical of these burial grounds. As the same 
burial practice obtained in Bornholm In the centuries Immediately 
preceding the birth of Christ, the burial grounds of this type on the 
mainland have been associated with the Burgundiones also men- 
tioned by Pliny (p. 59, n. 3), who are assumed to have migrated 
from Bornholm (Borghundarholmr] in the second century B.C. East 
and north of the Burgundian territory referred to 5 In Pomerania, 
burial grounds with Brandschiittungsgraber 1 ^ and several skeleton 
graves appear towards the end of the pre-Roman period. The 
Rugii ('rye-eaters') first mentioned by Tacitus are placed here, and 
this is supported by a statement in Jordanes 5 , according to whom 
the Goth& after their landing on German soil this is nowadays 
placed In the first century B.C. first attacked the Ulmerugi (i.e. 
the Rugii on the Island), which probably refers to that section of 
the Rugii who had settled in the delta of the Vistula. The name 
of the island of Rugen has also been correctly associated with that 
of the Rugii 6 . Some of the Rugii are assumed to have been settled 
at the estuary of the Oder. There Is agreement among Scandi- 
navian scholars that the Rugii come from Rogaland in south-west 
Norway. In view of the fact that a find In Rogaland (the Avalds- 
nesgrave) from about A,D, 300 contains a remarkable number of 
Roman imported goods and that similar goods are also found in 
abundance in connection with skeleton-graves in the estuary of the 
Oder and on the Danish islands, it has been suggested 7 that the 
Rugii migrated from their native country to the mouth of the 
Oder and Vistula with the Danish Isles as an intermediate station. 
Thus the appearance of Roman imported goods in Scandinavia 8 
was largely due to the Rugii's trade with their kinsmen in 
Denmark and West Norway. After the successful Invasion of 
the Goths (see above) their allies the Gepidae settled down at the 
delta of the Vistula as neighbours to the Rugii ; east and south of 
them Jived the Goths. The Gothic-Gepidae area Is characterized 
by biirial places with both skeleton and cremation graves, a form 
of burial well known from South Sweden especially OstergSt- 

1 Cremation pit graves not containing cinerary urns, Ebert> 
, pp. 3C22 $00* a Sec Volume of Plates v, &*g. 

3 Ebert> K^allexlkon 9 xi 3 p. 155. 

4 Cremation pit graves containing urns, Ebcrt, Reattexikon, n, pp. 

123 suq* 5 Getica 9 iv, 26 M. 6 Schmidt, op. fit. p 118. 

? B Almgren, Mannus^ x, 1918, pp I $qq Cf, Kossinna, 

L t 1932, p. 227. s Volume of Plates v, 8 icx 


land and VUstergotland during this period. This has been inter- 
preted as a proof that the. Goths came from tiotaland 1 , part of the 
mainland of Sweden, not as had been previously supposed from 
Gotland. Their name has been interpreted as the people on the 
Gutalven (Gota alv the Gota River). South of the region occu- 
pied by the Burgundians, Rugii and Goths a culture-group with 
urn-graves, Bnmdsckilttungsgr&ber) and weapons is still to be found 
under the Empire during this period weapons cease to be found 
in the northern area in Silesia,, Poland and West Russia* This 
widely spread culture 2 is considered to have been that of the 
Vandals (see above) and a little area in Silesia with skeleton- 
graves is referred to the Siling-ae. 

In this outline of the distribution of peoples, which refers to the 
conditions immediately before and after the birth of Christ, 
certain changes may be traced an we pass to the second cen- 
tury A.D. At that time a vigorous expansion of ( othic culture 
in various directions may be observed. The lower reaches of the 
Passarge had formed the eastern limit of the spread of the Goths 
in the main area of Kast Prussia 3 , In Samhuui, the peninsula 
between the Frisches Haff anil the Kurisehes I laff, and also in 
Natangen at the base of this peninsula, burial places now appear 
which indicate Gothic immigration* although the native culture- 
ascribed to the Aestii of Tacitus-~is still prevalent* Towards the 
middle of the second century the Rondsen type of burial place is 
no longer found at the bend of the Vistula and is replaced by a 
mixed grave-culture-- that of the Goths* marking their advance 
southwards as they drive out the Burgundians, whose buria! places 
now appear farther towards the south-west* 


To his account of the continental Germanic tribes Tacitus adds 
a description of the Suiones 4 , the only people in the Germaxfa 
who can with absolute certainty be stated to have lived on the 
Scandinavian peninsula 5 - The following chapter deals with the 
Sitones, and contains a digression about a northern sea which 
must be the Gulf of Bothnia 6 * These two chapters arc among the 

1 B. Herman, JL Pitterhets Histori* oih jtntikviMs Jkadtmimi U&nd~ 
Img&r* HI, 1,5,1 924, p, 49, * See the map in Mannu^ xxw * 1 930* p* 288, 

3 See the map it. xxxv, 1932, p. 562, 4 GVmr. 44* * 

fi For Tacitus* Lemovii, identified with Ptolemy's Leiiofii\ see P.W,, 
SuppL T, col. 549, E. Wacbtein, GSteb&rgs hSgskofas Arnkrift, xxxi, 1925, 
p. 198, and G. Kossinna, Mannm^Bihlhthek* t, 1932* pp* 234 iff, 

6 According to E- Hjgrne, Smarm mtigt 'Tadtm (forthcoming). 


most difficult to interpret in the work. They also seem to constitute 
a curious mixture of correct facts, misunderstood statements, and 
the author's subjective speculations on the information he had 
obtained. It has been impossible to check his statement that the 
Suiones were especially strong at sea, and therefore its accuracy 
has been called into question. During the last ten years, however, 
there have been discovered in the province of Uppland, where 
the original home of the Swedes must be sought, very many burial 
places from the next two centuries A.D., characterized particularly 
by upright stones 1 , so that there can be no doubt that the province 
was thickly populated at that time. The Swedes originally formed 
only a small part of this population, having as their nearest neigh- 
bours, so it has been assumed, the Danes, who had not yet migrated 
southwards. The Swedes had at that time obviously achieved hege- 
mony, and possibly also extended their kingdom round Lake Malar. 
Tacitus' description of their ships as of the same shape fore and 
aft, and with oars that could be moved and used on either side, 
gives a good picture of the Scandinavian boat as we know it from 
the centuries before Christ 2 , until the Viking period. 

Though certain parts of this chapter now receive satisfactory 
archaeological confirmation, others do not* Thus, the strange 
statement that in times of peace weapons were not worn by the 
men but were kept in some sort of arsenal under the custody of a 
slave is probably due to a confusion with the sacred peace observed 
at sacrificial feasts, when weapons were laid aside (p* 55), Nor, 
undoubtedly, is the emphasis laid on the strength of the royal 
power quite justified 3 , but should be viewed in connection with 
the statement about its increase to be noted among the Goths 4 
and the degenerate form of it among the Sitones 5 . The power of 
the king of the Suiones can no more have been independent of the 
will of the people than that of the king of any other Germanic 
people, but he possibly had somewhat greater authority. This may 
be ascribed partly to his character as commander of a mighty fleet, 
partly due to his position, which dates from very early times and 
may have lasted even till Tacitus * day, as chief priest and repre- 
sentative on earth of a god of fertility belonging, like Nerthus, to 
the god family of the Wanes (Vanir), In a fertile country particu- 
larly suitable for agriculture and cattle-raising, it must be assumed 
that this god occupied an unusually dominant position. Finally, 

1 Swedish bautastenetr. See Volume of Plates v, 14, a* 

2 Cf. the boat found at Hjortspnng on the Alsens Ebert, R$aUemk&n> v, 

P* 33*- 

3 Germ. 44. 4 II. 44. * Ib. 45, 


reference may be made to the circumstances mentioned below 

(p. 75)3 which indicate that as early as during- the first century 
after Christ the power of the Suiones was somewhat greater than 
that of the usual Germanic tribal kingdoms. 

Immediately adjoining the Suiones lived the Si tones, who only 
differed from their neighbours in that their ruler was a woman 1 . 
Opinions as to the proper interpretation of" these statements have 
been very conflicting* One suggestion- is that the name in question 
refers to the traders who moved from the valley of Lake Millar to 
the coast of the Bothnian Gulf and there became in part dependent 
on the Finnish Quains known from a later time, at the upper part 
of that water. The resemblance between this name and the old 
Norse word kvicn (woman, wife) is said to have given rise to the 
statement about the degenerate gymieeocnuy. This theory is 
supported by the circumstance that Adam of Bremen also men- 
tions a terra femin arum lying north of the Swedes. 

In comparison with the abundant information about the con- 
tinental Germanic peoples contained in Tacitus, particulars about 
the Scandinavian countries are more than scanty* They still lay 
too far beyond the periphery of the known world. If seems 
strange that even Denmark, which lay nearest anil already pos- 
sessed a flourishing' culture, should have been unknown^ for its 
civilization was characterized by just the abundance of Roman 
imports and Roman~Marcomannie influences 3 , the expression of 
lively, even if not direct, connections with the Roman Kuipire* 
During the centuries after Tacitus this importation of* Roman 
goods increases still more and now comes also by way of the 
mouth of the Rhine. The geographical work of* Ptolemy from 
the middle of the second century A.I>., which is largely based on 
the accounts of travelling merchants, contains the first detailed 
particulars about South Scandinavia, At this time, also Denmark's 
star rises In the firmament of history. IYom the. ha/c which has 
hitherto surrounded the Sinus Cocianus (see p. 51) appear the 
contours of the 'Cimbrian peninsula" (Jutland), and four islands 
lying to the east of it, of which the largest and the most easterly 
is obviously to be identified with the Scandinavian peninsula. 
Among the seven tribes on Jutland enumerated by Ptolemy 4 , it is 
thought that at least four can be located with the help of place- 
names* On the largest Scandia island are also mentioned seven 
different tribes* among whom the inhabitants of the Hcdnutrk* 

1 Germ. 45* a E. Hjjtrne, Frn*ul!nnm* xn 1917, pp, 147* 

s See Volume of Plates v* 8, 

4 G. Schdtte, Ptolemy's maps t pp* 144 jyy. 


the Lapps In the north,, and the Goths (Tovrai) in the south have 
been identified. According to another Interpretation 1 Ptolemy's 
Chaldinol does not allude to the Inhabitants of Hedmark but to 
those of the western part of the Swedish province SmalancL 
Among* the other tribe-names of Ptolemy's map glimpses are 
perhaps also caught of several territories in the province Skane. 

In addition to the tribes about whose ethnographical connec- 
tion with the German! there Is no doubt, Tacitus also deals shortly 
with some other peoples of Northern Europe. The Aestii living 
on the amber coast east of the mouth of the Vistula, whom for his 
part he regards as German!, are described fairly fully 2 . The reason 
why Tacitus Is so well Informed about this people is undoubtedly 
to be sought In the fact that the Romans were in direct contact 
with them through the amber trade., attested by Pliny's story of 
the noble sent out "by Nero to procure amber for the Roman arena 3 . 
According to Tacitus the Aestii resemble the Suebl In appear- 
ance and customs, but their language Is nearer that of the Britons* 
The last-mentioned statement must be accepted with reserve,, 
since Tacitus cannot have been In a position to decide this question, 
but It Is reasonable to conclude that the language of the Aestii 
differed materially from that of the German!. Modern investi- 
gators have held conflicting opinions as to whether the Aestii were 
a Germanic or a Baltic people, but in general the latter assumption 
has been accepted. According to old sources, this people Inhabited 
a very large area presumably the whole coast up to the Gulf of 
Finland* This Is corroborated by the circumstance that they be* 
queathed their name to the West Finnish tribe who Inhabit the 
south coast of the same bay at the present time. However, certain 
philological conclusions, among them those dealing with a number 
of place-names, also Indicate that GermanI inhabited the East 
Baltic area at a very early date. It also receives some support from 
the skeleton material from prehistoric times found in these coun- 
tries* From this it appears that the earlier inhabitants of the 
countries south of the Gulf of Finland represent to a considerable 
extent the Nordic race (p. 43) 4 Whether they are the original 
Inhabitants or Immigrants cannot yet be decided. 

After the short statement about the SItones referred to above 
Tacitus comes In his last chapter to the Veneti, Fenni and 
Bastarnae, about whose nationality he expresses some doubt* In 
the case of the Bastarnae this was unjustified, as has been shown 

1 K Wadstein, op* cit. pp. 195 $qq 2 Gtrrn. 45. 

3 N.H. xxx vn, 455 see vol. x* pp. 415, 418 sqq* 

4 Ebert, ReaUexikon 9 I, p. 342. 

G.A.H. XI $ 


above (p. 59); as regards the Vcneti it has been shown that this 
name Is undoubtedly identical with that of the Wends, later used 
by the Germani to designate the Slavs. But as <\ West Finnish 
tribe has inherited the name Esttans (sce^ibove), the Slavs have 
succeeded an Illyrian people in the possession of the name Vcneti. 
That in the Germama the Slavs are referred to is indicated by the 
fact that Tacitus places them between the Bushtrnae and the 
Finns. This agrees with the supposed situation of the original 
home of the Slavs, immediately south of the Baits- the upper 
Dniester south of the Pripet marsh. The original home of the 
Finns is now placed in the region of Moscow. 

The description of the Fenni which concludes Tacitus* work is 
one of its most discxissed parts. They are described as 4 notably 
brutal, miserably poor: they have no weapons, no horses, no 
homes, herbs serve them for food, hides for clothes, the ground 
for their couch. Their only hope lies in their arrows, which they 
point with bone, because they have no iron/ This description of 
a nomadic people in a very low state of civilisation has been 
declared by some scholars to be so untrue of the Finns that it 
.must refer to the Lapps. This theory is supported by the fact that 
the modern Norwegian name for the Lapps is still * Finner/ and the 
Lapps are found mentioned under that name in classical and 
medieval literature (Ptolemy, Procopius, Jordum% Adnm of 
Bremen)* Although, however, it is not known how far south the 
Finnish-speaking, hut probably independent, Lappish race 1 had 
penetrated in the time of Tacitus, it is certain they never lived 
south of the Gulf of Finland, and to judge from the context in 
which they are mentioned Tacitus 1 Fermi must he placed there, 
But in the period before the birth of Christ Finnish tribes lived 
therej to whom therefore the statements in the 6V/wjw/V/ probably 
refer. The territory between the Gulf of Finland, I .nice 1 .adoga and 
the Dvma is no longer to be regarded as the original home of the 
Finns: it has been shown 2 that the Finnish language lacks words 
for forest and for a number of forest animals ant! aLso for certain 
fish found in the Baltic regions and for the crayfish* from which 
the conclusion is drawn that their original home must be sought 
in the Moscow district* From this centre Finnish peoples spread 
along the Gulf of Finland to the Baltic as early as the middle of 
the last millennium B.C., and may thus be assumed to have lived 
at least in Esthonia and "Northern Latvia in the time of Tacitus. It 

1 K. B Wjkluml in Kbert, /?4v///tf*7<w, in, pp. 367 tyy. 
a By Wiklund, op* cit. m, pp. 369 syq. 

II, iv] THE FINNS 67 

is also worth observing that there is found In Latvia an extremely 
primitive culture, ascribed to the pre-Roman Iron Age, character- 
ized particularly by bone and horn implements. The cultural stage 
attained by its bearers does not appear to contradict that ascribed 
by Tacitus to the Finns and the scantiness of metal is a feature 
consistent with the East Finnish Bronze Age ? which is ascribed to a 
Finnish people who spread from the original home at an earlier 
stage than the southern tribes. It is also probable that this bone 
culture might have persisted till the time of Tacitus. It is true 
that in Esthonia, Latvia and the Memel district of Lithuania, a 
rich Iron-Age culture is also found 1 , but it does not begin before 
the second century. It bears a strong East-Germanic impress, 
and is undoubtedly to be ascribed to influences from that quarter. 
North of the Dvina this culture was probably shared by a mixture 
of Germanic-Baltic-Finnish peoples, south of the same river, 
more particularly by Baltic tribes, about whose period of immigra- 
tion however the most conflicting opinions are held 2 . This culture 
is thought to have been carried to Western Finland by a Finnish 
migration across the Gulf of Finland, which, however, cannot be 
traced farther back than to the second century A.D. Nevertheless 
in connection with the assumption that Tacitus' Fenni really 
refers to the Finns it must be noticed that this description is 
largely conventional and therefore of very little value as ethno- 
graphical evidence. 

As regards Finland of which a glimpse is caught in Tacitus* 
description, if the Sitones are rightly to be regarded as the 
Germanic inhabitants of this country only a single archaeological 
find from the first century A.D. is known, a Roman wine-ladle from 
south Osterbotten, certainly imported by way of Sweden 3 , With 
the second century begins the invasion from the south which gives 
a marked East-Baltic impress to the Finnish archaeological 
material. But that the Finns found there a Scandinavian popula- 
tion, even though a rather scanty one, and received from it 
significant cultural impulses, appears from about 400 ancient 
Norse loan-words in the Finnish language, among them the 
names for king, prince, rule, judge, fine, and the like*. 

1 Sec Volume of Plates v, i8 f 

2 According to C. Engel, Jfuhrer durch du wrgischichtL Sammlung d$$ 

Dommuseums* Riga, 1933, p. 35, the Baltic people entered this area as early 
as 2000 years B.C.; c Kbert, Rtalhxikon, i pp* 341* 

a Sec Volume of Plates v* i8 <L Nor is this find securely dated, as snch 
ladles in Scandinavia also belong to the second century of our era* 

4 K* B. Wifclund, Fornv&nn&n, xxvm* 1933, pp- 91 ffy* 



TJie information about the non-CJermanic peoples in North 
Europe which we can obtain from Tacitus and other classical 
writers is comparatively insignificant. We arc best informed about 
the Germani, the most important source being" Tacitus' work. 
It is true that this work has lost sonic of its authority owing to 
the penetrating criticisms of such scholars as Georg- Wissowa, 
Eduard Nordcn and A. Schroeder, It has been shown that the 
Germania is a late representative of a long succession of geo- 
graphical-ethnographical works by Greek ami Roman authors, 
In the statements of these works about the various peoples can he 
discerned a long series of * ethnographical migration motives/ 
Thus one of Tacitus* statements about the German! is met with 
in the Hippocratic Corpus referring to the Scythians, another in 
Herodotus, where it refers to the Persians, and so on. It has also 
been shown that, directly and indirectly, Tacitus must have availed 
himself largely of other sources, such as Posidonius Caesar, I, ivy 
and Pliny, A further weakness in the work, though a very ex- 
plicable one, is that the Roman author, who bad himself seen the 
dark sides of civilisation at close quarters -the retain of terror 
under Doinitian sometimes imconsciously idealises in his de- 
scription of the unspoiled children of nature. As has been shown, 
this * ethnographical romanticism,* despite its Rousseauist cha- 
racter, is also old and ultimately has its roots in the Stoic con- 
ception of the baleful influence of culture on mankind. Closely 
connected with this is the fact that in the interpretation of Ger- 
manic customs and conceptions marriage, religion* government^ 
various forms of punishment, and the like points of view arc 
adopted which arc Tacitus' own, not those of the people he is 
describing. By the side of this subjectivity the acsthetic&ing 
tendency asserts Itself as a weakness from the scientific point of 
view. The tendency of the author* the trained rhetorician, towards 
epigrammatic acerbity not infrequently degenerates into incom- 
prehensibility; his taste for effective points with which to conclude 
a section in the book, and Ms seeking after the artistic welding of 
the various parts, sometimes impair the work. Hut in spite of this 
and other weaknesses touched upon later, Tacitus* work Is still 
a ^document of Inestimable value for our knowledge of the early 
history of the Germani, What It has lost in authority through the 
critical research of recent decades It has gained through the results 

II, v] THE 6g 

of archaeological research which, more often than not,, confirm 
its statements with surprising emphasis. Hardly any other people 
has had the good fortune to be introduced into history by an 
author at once so penetrating and so kindly disposed. 

The introductory chapters in the Germania may in their 
general character be from Pliny, as Norden has sought to show 5 
the contents being largely derived from Book xx of his lost work 
on the Germanic Wars. However that may be ? this part of Tacitus' 
book contains much information not to be gained from other 
sources. This includes his notes about the tribal saga of the 
Germani and about the origin of their name, which only the 
Tungri are said originally to have borne. The interpretation of 
this has been the subject of much dispute. The general opinion is 
that the name was originally that of a tribe, which was later given 
to the whole people as the result of the prominence of its beaters 
as conquerors 1 . Tacitus gives no explanation of the name Germani 
indeed, he seems to have had little interest in etymology and 
the question must still be considered unsolved ; there is not even 
unanimous agreement to what language the name belongs 2 . 

After the description of the physical characteristics of the 
Germani, a description which proves to be largely in agreement 
with Posidonius' account of the Celts, the author turns to the 
nature and features of the coxintry. Here, as elsewhere in the 
book, geographical conditions are touched upon very briefly. The 
natural features of Germania are stated to be varied, but in general 
the country is covered with gloomy forests and horrible swamps. 
This exaggeration is echoed in Tacitus* account of the battle of 
the Teutoburgerwald and of Germanicus* campaign along the 
marshy coasts of the North Sea. At the same time, however, it 
is indicated that the marshy parts of the country He nearest to 
Gaul, while those lying along the Danube boundary are higher* 
Further the country is said to produce grain but to be unsuitable 
for fruit-growing. Cattle-breeding is carried on extensively^ but 
the cattle arc small and hornless* Probably they belonged to the 
* mountain breed" which still to-day predominates in the north 
of Scandinavia. 

In this country the Germani lived in scattered farms and 
villages, in houses roughly built of wood. In Jutland and Gotland 
particularly, a large number of house-foundations from the first 
centuries of our era are known, which give us an idea of the type 
of buildings of that time rectangular houses with the entrance 

1 Schmidt, op. cit. p. 43* 

2 Ebert, ReaJl^ikon^ iv, pp* 274^*; Schmidt* op, cit, p, 8 


on one of the short sides in Gotland 1 , or on one of the long sides 
in Jutland. Also more primitive dwellings, half underground, arc 

mentioned by Tacitus, and survive even now in several countries, 
The dress for men of all classes was a mantle, held together by a 
fibula, or for lack of a fibula, by a thorn, The extremely rich de- 
velopment of the fibula in Germanic territory 2 accords excellently 
with this statement- The wealthier had also close-fitting under- 
garments. Roman relicts, as well as sculptures and statuettes,, 
show us the normal Germanic costume of that period 5 ** It 
appears from these that the dress had been greatly changed since 
the Bronze Age 4 , above all by the adoption of* long trousers 
which are supposed to have been borrowed from one of the 
horse-riding peoples in South-Kast Ivurope. Among their objects 
of luxury were furs, sometimes brought from distant countries in 
the most northerly parts of Europe* The women's clothing was 
similar in character. As regards the relations between the sexes, 
monogamy was the rule and matrimony, which was entered into 
fairly late^ was held sacred 5 . Adultery was ran* and was severely 
punished. The children grew up 'naked and dirty* and no differ- 
ence was made between those of the free-born and the serfs. The 
women occupied a highly honoured position* In peace woman 
was the man's adviser, even credited with a prophetic instinct; in 
wartime she urged him on to combat, and wavering armies had 
stood firm at the adjurations of their womenfolk, 

Tribal and family feeling were very strong among the C tcrmani, 
and they were loyal to each other both in friendship and enmity, 
Family revenge was an imperative duty on every msu^ but the 
vendetta was not implacable* Kvcn murder could In* expiated by 
fines* a principle preserved in the Germanic laws which were codified 
much later. Indeed reconciliation between families was almost a 
social necessity in view of the temperament of the ( rcrmani and 
their forms of social intercourse. Extensive hospitality was 
practised, and feasts often finished with fights and bloodshed. As 
a drink Tacitus mentions a fermented beverage prepared from 
barley and wheat 6 * Wine was probably imported in much larger 

1 See Volume of Plates v, 16. a /, 4, 6, 8, to, 20. 3 Ik. 2 A, f. 
4 Ebert, R.t&llexikoni vi, pL 95; new evidences in Nordhke Fo 
n* 56, 1 935' * But see Hoops, Rf#Utxik<M) pp< 214 


6 At Slcudstrup in Slcsvig have been found twc* drinking horns with 
remains of a beverage brewed from German wheat (Prathht, %*eit$thr* XKII, 
I 93 I > PP* *8o$jFy,). The drink which once filled the hormnt Jucllingc was 
something between beer and a home-made wine (NowBxfa Fwiitlsmintlert 11, 
P- 54)- 


quantities than the Roman author was aware of (p. 72). Dice- 
throwing was also a favourite amusement of the Germani. This 
statement is well corroborated by the archaeological material; 
from the first century AD, until the time of the Vikings, dice and 
gaming-men the older ones of glass, the later ones of bone 
frequently recur in the furnishings of the men's graves 1 . 

The reason why so much time could be devoted to social life 
and amusements is that peaceful work was considered unworthy 
of a freeman 2 , who therefore left It to the women and serfs. 
The chief industries were cattle-raising and farming. The latter 
was of a primitive character, and the description of the methods 
employed is particularly difficult to interpret. It is a debated 
question whether it was on communal lines ? as described In 
Caesar's Gallic JVar^* It has been argued by Fustel de Coulanges 
and others 4 that Caesar's statements refer to the exceptional cir- 
cumstances prevailing among the Invading tribes, but that other- 
wise full ownership of land existed among the Germani. 

As regards trade, Tacitus' statements are rather calculated to 
give the impression that the Germani had little Interest in It, but 
it is observed that furs were obtained from the far distant North. 
Of Roman goods for which the Germani were eager only wine is 
mentioned, and this Is said not to have penetrated farther than to 
the tribes on the frontier. They amassed capital m the form of 
herds of cattle and placed little value on precious metals in general. 
The tribes in the Interior of Germania traded chiefly by barter, and 
only those nearest to the borders used money. For practical reasons 
they preferred silver* Most in favour were serr^ti and bigati^ the 
full-weight denarii of the Republic. 

Many of these statements are well founded. The large part 
played In the economy of the Germani by cattle-rearing Is reflected 
in the fact that the word In the Germanic languages for cattle 
during ancient times (Got* faiAu 9 old Norse />) also denotes 
property in general* It is also true that money came into use com- 
paratively late and coins struck before Nero's depreciation of the 
coinage (A.D. 63) were most in demand, Over 500 Republican 
denarii from free Germania and also many such coins rrom the 
Empire before Nero are certainly extant. A number of German 
hoards show* however, that these coins continued to be introduced 

1 Sec Volume of Plates v, xo, mo. 

2 Pigrum qum immo ct iners <uidetur sudore adquirere quod fossis 
par are (14). 

3 XV, X J VI, 22, 

4 See A. Dopsch, Wirt$c"haftliche und soziale Grund%ug . . *, I, p. 59 


right up to the time when Trajan withdrew them (A.IX ioj) 1 . 
This anxiety to secure coin of good quality contradicts Tacitus* 
statement about the indifference of the German* to precious 
metals. The beautiful gold ornaments, which give evidence of 
great technical skill 2 ? also point in the same direction. The 
enormous quantities of gold which the continental tribes de- 
manded from the Roman Empire during the period of migrations, 
and the tributes in silver which the Vikings imposed on Western 
Europe, also show plainly that the desire for money was far from 
foreign to the Germani of those times. An interest in trade must 
also have been long established among them. As early as the 
Stone Age the South Scandinavians carried on an extensive export 
of flint implements and amber. The latter attained still greater 
importance during the Bronze Age for the purpose of barter for 
metals (bronze and gold). During the first period of the Northern 
Iron Age trade with foreign countries suffered a great set-back, 
but during the last century before Christ connections with Italy 
began. This is proved, for instance, by the importation of bronze 
$itulae dating from the La Tine period^ no less than fifteen having 
been found in Hanover alone, while five had found their way to 
Scandinavia. There are no statistics to show the extent of the 
Roman imports into the continental portion of free Germaina 
but it was undoubtedly considerable. Of Roman and provincial 
Roman wares the Scandinavian countries show more than 00 
vessels of bronze, about 260 of glass and half-a-dozen of silver 1 * 
These figures go to show that the Germani could appreciate the 
products of the Roman metal industries tar more than Tacitus* 
statements would lead us to suppose* The considerable proportion 
of truttae (wine-ladles) among the bronze vessels indicates that 
wine had also penetrated far beyond the frontiers of free Gcrmanm* 
probably as early as the time of Tacitus* 

Just as Tacitus pays too little attention to the trade of the 
Germani with the Roman Empire, he also fails to recognize their 
receptivity of Roman culture* As early,, however, as the later 
Stone A^e 3 they had shown themselves extremely susceptible to 
cultural influences from abroad* During the Bronze and Early 
Northern Iron Ages a decided increase in these influences m 
connection with the metal Import is observed, which reaches Its 
height during the first two centuries A.D. They certainly remained 
unacquainted with the highest expressions of Roman culture, such 

1 S. Bolin, RGK Bar* xix 1929, p. 130. 

2 See Volume of Plates v> 6 8, 10, 20, 

3 Ib. 8, 10, 12; G. Ekholm, jfcta archaeohgicti, inr, 1935, pp. 49 sy$* 


as literature, art> and the like, but the imported Roman goods and 
the marked classical forms of the native antiquities are so cha- 
racteristic of the epoch that Scandinavian archaeologists call it 
the * Roman Iron Age/ With regard to the group which is far the 
most numerously represented the fibulae they are certainly 
not, as was formerly assumed, imports from the Empire, but their 
forms were strongly affected by classical taste. This applies in 
general to all the Germanic forms of ornaments, implements, 
earthenware vessels, belonging to these two centuries. The gold 
ornaments in particular attest an independent development of the 
filigree technique copied from the classical peoples, perhaps the 
Etruscans 1 . As also during the Bronze Age, it is in the Scandinavian 
countries that the technique of metal-work reaches its zenith 2 . 
The great absorption of Roman culture by the Germani is also 
remarkable, because it contrasts with the indifference of the Scotch 
and Irish, who appear to have remained unaffected by it. 

In view of the fact that the best goods of foreign and native 
extraction are almost entirely taken from graves, a reservation 
must also be made against Tacitus' statements about the simple 
burial custom of the Germani* The burial-mounds with cremated 
bones and few objects which he describes are characteristic 
especially of the districts of the Lower Rhine, whence indeed he 
got much of his information about the Germani, But in other 
parts of free Germania graves of another type with more abundant 
furniture are met with* Before the beginning of the Christian era 
isolated skeleton-graves had begun to make their appearance, 
probably as a result of Celtic influences. At first their adornment 
had been quite simple^ but during the first century of our era grave 
objects were often very abundant* The inhumation flat graves 
in particular often contain rich deposits either of native earthen- 
ware vessels or of imported wares of bronze, glass or occasionally 
of silver 5 . It is mainly in this type of grave that the imported 
Roman goods referred to above are found, 

As has been indicated above,, Tacitus* account of the religious 
conditions must also be read with a certain scepticism 4 . The 
explanation given of the lack of images and temples reflects his 
own personal ideas, The real cause may be sought in the fact that 
the Germani had not yet got quite beyond their original nature- 
worshipping stage. During the Bronze Age they had still wor- 
shipped the divine powers, mainly in the shape of axes and other 
symbols. A number of small statuettes of a naked woman are 

1 Almgren, Mftnnus-llihtiothek, xxxn 1923, pp* 13,3 arqq* 

* See Volume of Plates v, 8, 10. B Ib. 12. 4 Gtrm. g* 


found from the end of this period, probably representing a goddess 
of fertility possibly the same us Tacitus' Nerthus aiul in the 
time of Tacitus the divine world is entirely anthropomorphized. 
The chief gods mentioned in the C/V;y;//wX Mercury Hercules 
and Mars, are identified in various ways, but usually as Woden 
(Odm)j Donar (Tor) and Tiu (Tyr). The cult of the war-god 
Woden is traced in the burial customs of several West-C Jermunic 
tribes (p. 55)3 whereas the Scandinavian peoples at this time 
worshipped predominantly the Wanes (Vanir), the divine family 
of Nerthus, But the Germani had not yet reached the stage of 
images and temples, and all kinds ot niag*k\ the interpretation of 
signs and other primitive customs, still constituted part of their 
religion. There was a priesthood, hut the father of the family also 
had certain religious duties. 

The most, interesting chapters in Tacitus* work are those that 
deal with the political and social structure of the ( *>rnianie peoples* 
At the same time they arc among the hardest to interpret, not 
from the point of view of language, hut as regards their contents. 
In short ? sometimes enigmatic,, sentences a number of problems 
are touched upon which are still not entirely solved* This is 
the more remarkable in that discussions about them fake up by 
far the greater part of the literature which has appeared in con- 
nection with Tacitus* work. It is now universally agreed that the 
Germanic community was based on the family. During the time 
of Tacitus and much later, the Germanic State was of the nature 
of an alliance of families and constituted a rather loose association 
of a number of small territories. These Tacitus calls pttgi ami says 
that each is ruled by a prince (jpr/Vw/w). "The bond of union within 
each state is the national assembly (the T/twg) and the king (/v#) 
who possesses very limited powers 1 . The terminological difference 
between princeps and rex made by Tacitus ami other classical 
authors is, however, assumed to be foreign, to the (*crmuni. These 
statements do not entitle us to make a distinction between mon- 
archical and republican forms of government^. Among; the 
Scandinavians at any rate all princes seem as a rule to have borne 
the name of king. The most varied opinions have been expressed 
about the origin of the power of the kings among the C tarmstni. 
According to some scholars^ it is very undent, according to others 
comparatively late and developed from other offices such as that 
of general* The three distinctive functions of the king as 
generalissimo, supreme judge and chief pricst-~snggest its 

1 Germ. II 14* 

2 K, Miillenhoffj, Dtutsch* Alttrtumskun&t iv, pp. 184 jrjy. 


great antiquity because they Indicate that the office ultimately has 
its roots in the authority of the head of the family. 

In Tacitus' statement about the Suiones 1 we get a glimpse of 
another kind of kingship, embracing several cimtat&s. A number 
of facts indicate that this strongly sacral kingship arose out of the 
old kingship under influences coming from the Mediterranean 
countries in connection with the cult of the fertility goddess 2 . It 
can be assumed that 3 as in Egypt and India also 3 the King and 
Queen of the Suiones were looked upon as the hypostases of the 
male and female forms of that twin deity of fertility. Nevertheless 
even kingships such as those of the Suiones must be assumed to 
have been somewhat loosely welded monarchies, most nearly of 
the same character as the tribal associations on the continent 
(referred to above), whose cult was chiefly the bond that held 
them together. But the over-kingship common to the states of 
the Suiones is remarkable, nothing corresponding to it being 
mentioned elsewhere, though it is alleged that this sacral 
Uppsala-kingship was the model at the founding of the all- 
Norwegian dominion during the ninth century. Whether it also 
influenced the development of this institution among other Ger- 
manic peoples it is not yet possible to decide. But it should be 
observed that the word king is proved to be of North-Germanic 
origin and further that it is absent in the Gothic Ulfila's term 
is piudans and that in the West-Germanic languages it is bor- 
rowed from the North 3 . 

According to Tacitus the kings were chosen for their noble 
birth, which probably referred to divine origin which was usually 
claimed by the dynasties of the German!. As the history of the 
Germani shows, kingship was so strictly confined to certain 
families that in practice it was hereditary even though not in the 
direct line. The power of the king was limited. The love of liberty 
was strongly developed and the Germani submitted to authority 
unwillingly. By the side of the king there was a council of princes, 
who settled minor matters and had the right to prepare more im- 
portant ones before they were laid before the national assembly, 
which had the right of decision, in certain cases (matters of life 

1 Germ, 44. 

2 See the present writer in Hhtorisk tidskrift, XLVI, 1926, pp. 326^. 

3 The old view, that the Germanic words for king have connection with 
GId-Norse kyn, family, may now be abandoned. The Old-Norse KonungR 
has its root in kon# 9 woman, wife, here alluding to a fertility goddess and is 
to be interpreted as the mate of the goddess y a new and important testimony for 
the sacral character of this kingship. O. von Friesen, Saga och sed> 1932 
1934, pp 15 syy. and Chadwick, op. cit* p. 252, 


and death), also jurisdiction* The members of the Thini^ which was 
composed of all free men, received the proposals with a murrmir of 
disapproval or an assenting clash of weapons. 

The democratic features of the (Jermanic method of govern- 
ment were counterbalanced by certain aristocratic ones. Although 
the serfs were well treated- some of them seem to have been in a 
position almost resembling bond tenants sharp distinctions were 
drawn between them and the men who hail been freed, and be- 
tween these and the real freeborru The nobility (>;<;/'//</) had the 
greatest influence in the Thing, and a certain order of precedence 
was observed Jn the division of land 1 . The power of the aristocracy 
was very much strengthened by the chieftains* surrounding them- 
selves with large armed body-guards (<W;;//<//#A) of freemen and 
youths. The institution of body-guards with their cultivation of the 
virtues of war and their glorification of the bond of loyalty between 
the chieftain and his men appears to be a forerunner of the 
chivalry of the Middle Ages and seems to have had a close analogy 
among the Celts (voL vn^ p. 72). It had the effect of weakening 
the power of the king, but at the same time undoubtedly helped 
strongly to accentuate the warlike traits in both peoples* Cam- 
paigns and the booty they produced were necessary for the main- 
tenance of the body-guards and in turn the (vtnihttus often formed 
the nucleus of new kingdoms in the time of the great migration* 

The military system of the Germatni is also a subject which 
Tacitus dwells on fully 2 , Their military organisation* the dis- 
position of the army, and their method of fighting, as well an their 
weapons, arc described in detail* Weapons are seldom laid aside, 
and as in Rome a youth assumed the toga on coming of age, so 
among the German! he was given a shield ami lance. When speak- 
ing of the Cimbri, Tacitus takes the opportunity to give a survey 
of the struggles of the Romans with the Germanic peoples aind 
strongly emphasizes their character as Rome's most dangerous 
cnemy 3 *^ It can hardly be doubted that an expansion of the 
Germani was to Tacitus the great danger that still threatened 
the Roman Kmpire. To him the internal dissension among the 
Germanic peoples was the only bright side of this picture. To warn 
and enlighten his fellow-countrymen and to same extent also for 
the purpose of their self-examination, he fniblkhed m AD 98 
at the time when Trajan was present on the banks of the Rhine 
for the purpose of settling frontier questions -his book about the 
yig-orous^ brave and moral but rapacious and bellicose people who 
inhabited the wide countries of free Germanin, 

G*rm. 2,6. * 7*. 6-8, 7*. 37. 



There is both linguistic and archaeological evidence for an early 
settlement of Thracian peoples in Transylvania and the eastern 
Carpathians, and In the adjacent steppes beyond to the north 
of the Danube estuary and the Black Sea, By the eighth and 
seventh centuries B.C., it would seem, the Thracians had achieved 
a strong and stable political organization, as appears from the 
remarkable fact that only the earliest and latest stages of Illyrian 
iron culture succeeded in penetrating into the lands to the east 
of the central Danube, where In the Intervening period the tra- 
ditional bronze culture continued to flourish. This significant 
separation from and contrast with the west, where Illyrian In- 
fluence was predominant, clearly points to the existence of a unified 
system of government among the Thracian settlers, a system 
which crumbled before the onslaught of the Immigrant hordes 
from the remote north-east. It is even possible that this first 
unification of northern Thrace was Itself the achievement of 
an invading wave of pre-Scythian horse-riding shepherds the 
mare-milkers of Homer. For in this district traces have been 
found of a horse-riding people who coalesced with the northern 
Thracians at a time contemporary with the later Hallstatt age, 
and who have been Identified with the Cimmerians, The trique- 
frum^y which combines the parts of various animals into one 
composition, the animal form with body twisted backwards, and 
the Shaman crown, from the find at Mikhalkowo, suffice to prove 
that the users of this type of ornamentation came from the home 
of the North-Asiatic animal style 2 . The wealth in gold of the 
Transylvanlan Agathyrsl, which Herodotus 3 emphasizes, is pre- 
Scythian and dates from this early period In the land's history* 

Archaeology shows that Transylvania again changed masters 
in the sixth century B.C. A similar series of articles to the early 
Scythian finds from South Russia often occurs here, especially In 
the valley of the Marisus (Maros). The Scythian types and their 

1 Sec Volume of Plates v 22, a, i>* 

a Conversely these motifs show that the animal style had an individual 
development in South Russia, and possessed a basis of typical themes 
before the Scythian invasion. A collection of the horse-riding nomadic 
elements in this group of monuments is given in the work of S. Gallus 
and T. Horvath on the emergence of the horse-riding people in Hungary 
(in the series Dissertations Pannomcae, to appear in 1936). 

8 iv, 104* 


ornamentation have an archaic flavour 1 -, and do not share the de- 
velopment which occurred in South Russia, under < Jrcck influence. 
The intrusion of local elements reflects the gradual absorption 
of the Scythian conquerors by the native Thnician population. 
We learn more about this process in I Icrodotus. The Agathyrsi 
of the Marisus basin, of whom he writes, had their place in the 
original tribal organization of the Scythians; they constituted one 
of the three parts into which the Scythian people was divided for 
military and political purposes, ami which also formed the frame- 
work of their religious institutions 2 , Moreover the tribal name 
of this people and also of its original king Spargapeithes is 
genuinely Scythian. All that emerges from 1 lerodotus* conflicting 
statements is"* that the Agathyrsian conquest in Transylvania dates 
back to the sixth century. The aloofness of the Agathyrsi during 
Darius* Scythian expedition is in keeping with the isolation re- 
flected in the archaeological remains, and also with the singularity 
which has repeatedly characterized this country, cut oft as it is 
by mountains on every side. As early us I lerodotus the effects 
of Thracian influence were profound: in two generations the 
exogamy of the horse-riding shepherds had sufficed to bring about 
a large measure of assimilation between rulers and subjects* An 
illuminating parallel in later times is provided by the rapid 
germanization of the ruling aristocracy or the ! hms 

We have much less information concerning the consequences 
of the next great invasion of the lands to the north of the Danube* 
We know that the Celts penetrated to 1 lungary at about the same 
time as they invaded ltaly > but their arrival! in Transylvania was 
somewhat later, if we may trust the archaeological evidence. It 
would seemj indeed, that intermittent advances were made as 
early as the fourth century, but there was no real invasion until 
some hundred years later, when the La Tine culture finally 
established itself here (vol. vu, p. 65), The names of tribes aim 
settlements preserved in Ptolemy attest further Celtic immigra- 
tion in the Getic East, Galicm, and Bessarabia; they also throw 
light on the migrations of the third century* 

The Celts, like^the Scythians, exercised a repressive influence 
on the primitive inhabitants of the eastern Carpathians (p* 80), 
but they neither destroyed them nor drove them out. Subsequently 

1 C IVL Rostowftcw, Skythim und dtr Hosp&rus^ i p. 534, 

2 C the present writer^ lecture on metsd-workinpfimi kingship in 
Northern Asia/at present printed in Hungarian only in Magyar Nyefai) xxvm, 
*93 2 PP- 2O S -W* The importance of the saerc-if hcarth-firr of the kings* 
and the name paradata (c H. I*ommei, />/V JV/j de$ ,/ffWJ/*, p. 170) of 
the kingly house link early Scythian legend with Iranian theology. 


these older races became known to the neighbouring Greeks,, who 
established the fact that the complex of peoples in northern Thrace 
which had supplied much human material for the Athenian slave- 
market in the fourth century B.C. was composed of two main 
elements, Dacians and Getae. Since, however, the Greeks had 
more to do with the Getae, who were their immediate neighbours, 
they applied this name to all the peoples of northern Thrace, 
to the confusion both of ancient and of modern writers. In spite 
of this it is possible to delimit with some accuracy the territories 
occupied by the Dacians and the Getae. The former were not con- 
fined to Transylvania, but were distributed over an area reaching 
westwards as far as the central Danube, and northwards beyond 
the Carpathians to the Vistula. Agrippa's map of the world marked 
these northerly Dacians, and the place-names ending in -dava 
(the Dacian for settlement) which occur over an area extending 
as far as Podolia confirm the accuracy of his authorities. We 
have from various sources a considerable number of tribal names 1 . 
It must have been in early times that the collection of tribes in 
the Carpathians, cut off as they were by their geographical en- 
vironment from the other branches of their race, became differ- 
entiated as the special group of Dacian Getae, even though the 
name Dacian is unknown to the Greek world before the fourth 
century. The Getae proper had settled to the east and south 
of the Carpathians, The Dniester was the limit of the really 
populous area, but they extended far beyond, since Thracian 
nomenclature occurs in the personal and place-names of the 
Bosporan kingdom. To the south the Getic region of settlement 
extended along both banks of the Danube 2 , and was bounded by 
the mountain barrier of the Balkan range. The Dacians and Getae 
spoke the same language a Thracian dialect. 

It is natural that our Greek authorities should make earlier and 
more frequent mention of those Getae who lived to the south of 
the Danube, between the lower reaches of the river and the Balkan 
massif, than of the others. The complexity of this mountainous 
area was reflected in the diversity of the tribes inhabiting it, which 
remained isolated units, and in spite of their common origin and 
great personal bravery failed to achieve national unity 3 , and in 

1 The tribal names, derived from place-names, in Ptolemy, have more 
evidential value than is usually supposed: he attests a similar name formation 
for Mocsia, and his information here, as in the case of the north Dacian and 
Getic tribal territories, may go back to the time before the conquest. 

2 Strabo n, 1175 n, 120; vii, 295$ vn, 305. 

8 E* Roesler, Site,-Ber. d. Wien* Akad* xwv, 1863, p 163 ty. 


consequence were severely handled and oppressed by their more 
powerful neighbours. A Few words must suffice to describe their 
sufferings which lasted for centuries. The Scythians not only 
made plundering raids into their territory, but settled there per- 
manently from the sixth century onwards, as the growing- Scythian 
Influence on these Getae shows (p. Kf> .vy.). Subsequently Darius 
during his Scythian expedition devastated their country, and in the 
following centuries their kings were successively subjects of the 
Odrysian$> the Scythian Atheas, Philip of Macedon, and Lysi- 
machus. First Celtic hordes, then the Bastarmie and the Surmat&e 
ravaged their territory., but in the first century luc, they were still 
strong enough to oppose the generals of Rome, after Mtthridates 
hud sought to muster them* In 73 M. Lucitlhts defeated them, 
but shortly afterwards, at about the middle of the century, the 
southern Getac were incorporated in Burcbista's great Dacian king- 
dom. About the time of Caesar's death, however^ this dangerous 
unification of the northern Thracians broke down, and when 
M. Crassus, after 30 K.C., brought order into these regions we hear 
of several petty kingdoms of the Getae. The territories of Roles 
and Da pyx were situated on the frontier district between north- 
eastern Bulgaria and Roiimania 1 , while /yruxes ruled to the south 
of the Dobmdja s Their strength was broken and their subjects 
were incorporated in the Roman Knipire (vol. x, p* 117 Jf.). 

Still harder was the fate of the other (ietae, who inhabited the 
plains to the north of the Danube and the Black Sea and KO were 
exposed to the attacks of immigrant peoples. We know little of 
their fate under the Cimmerians and Scythians; the shift of the 
Scythian centre of power to the vicinity of the Dstnubiun delta 
must have seriously lessened their political freedom* This change 
did not, however, destroy them utterly: when Alexander the 
Great crossed the Danube and defeated them they shewed them- 
selves to be an independent people of great bravery (vol. vi, j>, 355)* 
Their military power is best illustrated by the defeats they shortly 
afterwards inflicted on Macedonian generals of repute* Zopyrton, 
for example,, failed ignominiously against them, and Lygimachus 
fared no better (vol. vi $ p* 394, vn, p< 82)* 1 *ysjmachu&' opponent, 
Dromichaetes, was supported by contingent;* from many tribes of 
Wallachia and South Russia; but the military strength of the 

* Cf. C. Patsch In $ite.~Iier. rf. //'ww. dkttd, 214, 9J2 i, pp, 77 syy. 
2 P. Krotschmcr (GkttM* xxiy, 1935* p. 45) sugf^^ts "tJit Xynix*H may 
mean the prince of the Zyr river* Thews dyna^cn may Iisive been Dacian 

princely families Introduced by Burcbista. See below, p. Ha. 


Getae was later shattered by the mass migrations of the Sciri 
and Bastarnae^ who by about 230 B.C. must have begun to make 
definite Inroads into Getic possessions, since their territory ex- 
tended at that time as far as the shores of the Black Sea 1 . Never- 
theless, Oroles ? the king of the Getae> despite early defeats, 
contrived to hold his own In the face of these enemies 2 . It is, 
however, clear from the numerous military undertakings of the 
Bastarnae in the Balkans, and from their attacks on the Greek 
cities on the north coast of the Black Sea, that the Getae in the 
second century B.C. could make little headway against such 
opponents, and the prominent part played by the Bastarnae in 
the campaigns and armies of Mithridates shows that this critical 
situation persisted. The Germanic Sciri were cowed by the Dacians 
(after 60 B.C.), and the Bastarnae were subdued by Crassus 
in 298 B.C., but neither of these happenings was of much help 
to the Getae, as yet a new enemy arose to oppress them. For the 
break-up of the kingdoms of Mithridates and Burebista opened 
the way westwards to the Sarmatae (p. 92 Sf^) 9 It is not improbable 
that the mass migration of the Bastarnae with all their belongings 
to Moesia in 29 B.C. was due to the beginning of Sarmatian 
pressure. Certainly from 16 B.C. onwards Roman generals fre- 
quently came into contact with them. 3 ., and Ovid in his exile could 
frequently observe them in the neighbourhood of Tomi. They 
also crossed to the right bank of the Danube, It is therefore not 
surprising that the Getae on the Black Sea coast vanish from, the 
stage of history under the Empire. 

While the peoples of the steppes to the east of the Black Sea 
had cut each other's throats, the Dacians in the rocky fastness of 
Transylvania grew stronger. Although they too were weakened 
by wars, yet even before the king who was to be the founder of 
their power came to the throne, a representative of the Greek city 
Dionysopolis on the shores of the Black Sea found it advisable 

1 C L. Schmidt, Geschichte der detitschen Stamme bis zum jiusgange der 
F'6lkerwanderung^ 9 i, p. 87, 

2 O roles was not a Dacian but a Getic king, as is clear from the fact that 
Trogus (ProL xxxn) dates the beginnings of Dacian power from the time 
of Burebista, i.e. knows nothing of a successful predecessors but he describes 
the Getae as predecessors of the Dacians. This has obscured Justin's excerpt, 
xxxn, 3,16; Dad quoque suboles Getarum sunt y qul cum Orole rege adversus 
"Bastarnas male pugnassmt* etc, 1 *qui must be taken as referring to the Getae. 

3 Die JLIV, 20, 3. Patsch, op. cit* pp. 83, 92, $qq* suggests that the Sarmatae 
of the sources are really Bastarnae, but this Interpretation appears to the 
present writer to be inadmissible* 

C.A.K* xi 6 


to appear at the Dacian court. In the ten years 6151: B.C. came 

the great expansion that was achieved under Burelnsta 1 , The 
chronological order of his conquests Is uncertain; they made 
him the dominant ruler to the north of the Danube and also in 
Thrace. Eastwards he succeeded in utterly crushing the Bastarnae 
at a later date their fortresses were still in the hands of Dacian 
petty princes 2 . The brave resistance of the (ireek cities in the 
north-west corner of the Black Sea was in vain : most of them were 
plundered,* many razed to the ground, and they never recovered 
from this terrible blow. About 55 n.c. 3 , it would seem, Burebista 
turned against Thrace, devastating ami in part subduing the 
country as far as Macedonia and Roman Illyria. Farther West- 
wards he conquered the powerful Celtic tribe of the Scordisci 
between the Save and the Moniva^ and made them his allies, 
presumably for his next war, in the course of which he almost 
destroyed the Boii 4 and TauriseL The Boii were recent immigrants 
who had driven the Dacians beyond the Theiss. By their victory 
the Dacians recovered the Hungarian central plain, and took 
possession of Slovakia* 

The sudden emergence of so powerful a kingdom, which could 
mobilize a force 200,000 strong in the rear of Macedonia and 
Italy, presented a challenge to the chief power of the undent 
worldj which must sooner or later fie taken up. Although the 
death of Burebista and the collapse of the power he had built 
postponed the day of reckoning,- the future of the Daciuns re- 
mained dependent on their relations* with Rome* 

All along the borders of the civilized world there stretched a 
belt of turbulent peoples who were ignorant of the restraining 
influences of civilization but were eager to gain for themselves 
the riches It had produced* Wherever' Rome 'broke the power of 
a Hellenistic State she destroyed at the same time a bulwark of 
defence against these frontier peoples*. Thus when she destroyed 
the Macedonian State she Inherited its enemies in the north* 
The raids of the Balkan tribes enticed their northern neighbours 

1 Patsch, op, cit. p. 51 has rightly stressed the fact that after 49 his aggres- 
sion ceased, 

* Pointed out by G. Zippel, Dit rm Ihmctuift In I/fyri**, p. 2 16 sy* 

3 C Patsch, &p. cif. p, 49, 

4 Obserre, however, that the son of the defeated king Critasirus ruled 
after him (c W* Kubitschck, JeAr*sbrft* t xx, 1906, pp 70 iff.) and the 
Boii also re-appear often in Imperial times. 

5 F. Altheim, Epoch** der r8mi$ch*n Gtwhickt** n, pp. 163, 175* V- 
Parvan, Dada, p. 156* 


the Dacians Into joining In the game. In 112 and 109 B.C. the 
Dacians are found in alliance with the Scordisci against Roman 
generals 1 ; in 75 they assist the Dardani against Scribonius Curio 2 , 
who follows them along the valley of the Morava or Timok as 
far as the Danube, but then falls back, being unprepared for an 
advance into the primeval forest of the Dacian mountain ranges. 
But Rome's frontier defences were presently crippled by the 
extreme internal strain of the civil wars, and the astonishingly 
rapid spread of Burebista's power in every direction is largely due 
to Roman weakness. Burebista negotiated with Pompey before 
Pharsalus, but did not give him any real assistance; and this only 
strengthened Caesar's determination to come to a final reckoning 
with this opponent (vol. ix, p. 715). Ois great expeditionary force 
had already been set in motion ; the young Octavian was to leave 
his stiidies at Apolloniato join Caesar's staff. But the Ides of March 
intervened. The Dacian king himself lost his life at about the 
same time, and his empire broke up into four principalities. 

Through the advance of the Empire's frontier to the Danube 
the problem of Dacia assumed a different aspect in Augustus* 
reign. From a point near Vienna to the river mouth, the Dacian 
and Roman frontiers marched side by side, and the Dacians had 
to be taught to cease their encroachments on the Roman bank. 
Siscia, captured in 35 B.C., was to have served as Octavian's base 
of operations for a great Dacian campaign 3 . The clash with 
Antony, however, prevented an active offensive: indeed, the initia- 
tive lay with the Dacians, for, since the decisive action in the 
civil wars took place In the Balkan peninsula, each of the rival 
opponents was constrained to attempt to draw on the military 
resources of the Dacians for his own uses. Antony accused 
Octavian of having planned to win King Cotiso's support by 
a matrimonial alliance; but the Dacians, after fruitless negotiations 
with the ruler of the West, favoured Antony, The prince Dicomes 
promised him numerous troops, but proved unable to keep his 
promise; another prince, Scorylo, wished to maintain peace the 
truth was that internal rivalries prevented all from any active 
participation. The most powerful of these dynasts was Cotiso 4 , 

1 Brandis in P. W. s.v. Dacia, col. 1956 sq. 

2 F Mdnzer in P. W. s.v. Scribonius Curio (to), col. 864. 
8 See, however, vol. x, p. 84, 

4 A. von Premerstein ffiahreshefte, xxix, 1934, p* 66 sq^) would separate 
the Coson of Suetonius ( the KO^IJtN of the coins) from the C0/*V0 of Horace 
and Floras but the two forms of the name may clearly be due to a half-way 
form Kofe*>, 



the ruler of Transylvania, whose armies were still a frequent 
menace to the security of Moesia and Pannonin. The astonishing 
number of his gold staters which have been found is in itself 
sufficient evidence of a prosperous reiin. "They were probably 
made for him by coin-designers from Olbia 1 , The fear of the 
Dacians at Rome in the years after Aethtm is vividly reflected in 
the relevant passages of Horace and Virgil, and there was a general 
sigh of relief when Cotiso's armies were defeated, 

The solution of the Dacian question was in fact a very difficult 
matter for the Roman State- nor because the Dacians were a 
match for Rome, as has been suggested, hut because Transylvania, 
the inaccessible mountain land of the Dacians, lay outside the 
natural frontier line on which the Romans based their plans of 
conquest, namely, the line of the Danube. Incorporation in the 
Empire was not accordingly a part of imperial policy, but the 
Romans concentrated on reprisals for raids, and on various 
methods of isolating the Dacians from the regions bordering on 
the river. This could not be achieved without military activity. 
The reports preserved of these measures arc very defective^. It is 
quite by chance that we learn from a fragmentary inscription that 
some general (presumably M, Vinicixts, cos. 19 B.C.) penetrated 
into Dacia in the lower Danubian region, and defeated an army 
of Dacians and Bastarnac, while at the same time his legate in 
the North- West of Dacia carried out a punitive expedition against 
the Osij Cotini, Anartii, and others, perhaps in revenge for the 
Dacian invasion of 10 u,c. A second important expedition against 
the Dacians was led by Cn, Cornelius Lentulus (Vw. iH B.C.) 
apparently in the later years of Augustus* reign, lie succeeded 
in driving back the Dacians and Sarmatae from the north bank 
of the stream. Aelius Catus ? perhaps in co-operation with him, 
transplanted 50,000 Dacians from the north hank to Moesia, 
Through this aggressive action the Romans also succeeded in 
splitting one of the most powerful Dacian principalities into two 
parts*** One of these offensives was important enough in the 
Emperor's eyes to merit mention in his Res' (.testae. 

Strabo maintains that the Dacians were pacified by these 
measures^ but this was not the case they remained a thorn in 

* C M. von Bahrfeldt, Ghfr dig GoMmitoztn da$ ttekerk8nig$ KO3BON. 

^ ^See for these operations vol. x, p. 366 s$. and the work* 'cited in the 
bibliography, ib. p. 940, to which may now be added A. vcm Premcratdn, 

op, at* above, 

3 Strabo vn, 304, 


the side of the Empire to the endA From year to year they made 
small raids across the Danube : the Appuli of the Marisus valley, 
for example, frequently penetrated as far as the Greek cities of 
the Black Sea in their search for booty. On two occasions, In 
10 B.C. and A.D. 1 1, the solemn closing of the temple of Janus 
by Augustus was prevented by dangerous Dacian incursions. 
Moreover the Dacians combined with rebellious Pannonians to 
ravage in Moesia (A.D. 6) and we learn from Ovid of serious dis- 
turbances in the last years of Augustus' reign. 

Rome's hard-won victories failed, therefore, to impose tran- 
quillity. Tiberius, however, here as elsewhere, followed the policy 
formulated by his predecessor: he concentrated on keeping the 
Dacians away from the immediate vicinity of the river. Indeed 
he may well have been responsible for transferring the lazyges, 
the westernmost tribe of the Sarmatians, from the estuary of the 
Danube to the Hungarian plain 2 in order to cut off the Dacians 
from the Danubian border of Pannonia. Under subsequent em- 
perors the pressure of the Roxolani 3 , who were akin to the 
lazyges and sought to follow them, stirred up the Dacians on the 
border of Moesia. Possibly these Roxolani initiated that 'incipient 
revolt of the Sarmatae, ' which Plautius Silvanus 4 suppressed under 
Nero (Vol. x, pp. 775 sqq^) and in which the Dacians and Bastarnae 
were concerned on one side or the other. A hundred thousand 
barbarians were transplanted to the Roman side of the Danube by 
Silvanus ; he was given absolute power in organizing the country 
adjoining the limes y and made himself felt as far as the Crimea. 
But the gap thus created gave the Roxolani still more room for 
their restless movements. And when in the confusion that followed 

1 Straho, vn, 305. It is not due to chance that there is no mention of 
Dacian allegiance in the Res Gestae^ as Pirvan, Getlca^ p. 92 noted, C 
further Horace, CM n, 20, 1 7 $qq. 

2 The immigration of the laxyges was against the wishes of the Dacians 
as the words pulsiab iisDaciin Pliny N.H. iv, 80 show; no one who reflects 
how the legates dealt with the frontier peoples at that time will imagine that 
they came without permission from the governor of Pannonia. 

3 Some suppose that they remained near the Black Sea, but we know from 
Dio (txxn, 19, 2) that under Marcus Aurelius they had permission to com- 
municate with the lazyges through the province of Dacia, i.e. across the 
Aluta, and so could not have been far away. Jordanes, Getica, xn, 74 M, 
following an ancient authority, says: nam lazyges ah Jlroxolanis jiluta tantum 

fimno segregantur. 

4 Dessau 986, C Patsch, op. cit. pp. 164 sqq. y H, Dessau, Jahreshefte, 
xxiii, 1926, pp. 346 sqq.y^f, P&rvan, Getica, pp. 103 $qq-> L- Halkin, Ujfnti* 
quit I class, m, 1934, p. 145* 


Nero's death the Dacians attacked Mocsia, not they but the 

Roxolani were the most dangerous disturbers of the peace 1 (p. 

1 68). The revival of Dacian power begins under the Flavians* 


About the time when Trogus announces the Mncrcmcnta Da- 
corum per Biirobiisten regem 2 / we sec Dacian civilization begin- 
ning to bear an individual stamp of its owiu Before this period 
the Dacians and Getae constituted merely a province of the 
Thracian, Scythian and Celtic cultures which were coloured to 
a greater or less extent from their contact with the supreme 
achievements of Greek civilization. 

Scythian influence in this region has been generally under- 
estimated, although (especially since the researches of Minns and 
Rostovtzeff) the fundamental modification which it caused even 
in the Greek coastal cities has been clearly demonstrated. On 
the Thracians it is also very marked, especially among 5 the more 
northerly tribes (see above, vol. vin, pp. 557 s ?$*)* Thus Bulgaria 
is rich in finds of Scythian art-products, and the crossing of 
Thracian and Scythian stock through intermarriage is well 
attested 3 , In Homer the Thracian allies of the Trojans still fight 
with war chariots, whereas Thucydidcs knows them EH mounted 
archers of the Scythian typejtist like the (Jetae, The long Thracian 
cavalry cape (/$. p. 543) is also borrowed from the Scythians, as 
are several of their customs, notably to induce perspiration and 
complete unconsciousness resembling sleep by means of the fumes 
from grains of hemp thrown on heated flat stones 4 . Among the 
Getae and Dacians, who were much more open to this influence, 
its effects were still more profound. This has been demonstrated 
bj linguistic evidence 5 : even the name of the ( Jctsut is the abbre- 
viated form of a Scythian title, which appears to have originally 
designated an upper class among the Scythians, The name l)arm% 
applied to the central and upper Danube, Is Scythian*, and so Is 

* According to Tacitus (flht. iv, 4) Muciamitf rweiwcl the 
triumphaKa on account of his in Setrmattts expeditfa t which cannot he inter- 

preted as referring to successes against the Daciam. UK* repulse of Damn 
attacks is mentioned sis a duty of the Mocstau garrison* (in A., 66} by 
Josephus, KelL Jutt. 11, [16, 4], 369. 

2 Prof. xxxn. 

3 K.g. Herodotus, iv, 80. ApolL Rhod. iv, 320* Strabo vn t 296, 

4 W. Tomaschek, DU afan Thraker* ! p. 123 sf,\ H, i, p. 1 1 n. I x. 

5 Kretschmer > ?J>. ciL pp. 37 sqj, 
U. pp. i sff* 


even the name of the chief Getlc deity Zalmoxis 1 . The explanations 
given by Porphyry 2 of this word's original meaning are by no 
means unconvincing 3 . He translates it c bearskin 9 and * strange 
man/ and the two interpretations are complementary. The first 
takes us back to the cult of the bearskin prevalent among the 
North-Asiatic hunting peoples, and the second is a typical secret 
name for the bear among the same races* The cult of the bearskin 
belongs to a very primitive cultural stratum among the nomads : 
the sacred trio of bearskins 4 apparently corresponds to a triple 
social division of the people, just as in the next stage of develop- 
ment the two animal ancestors correspond to a double social 
division. The Scythians still preserved a threefold tribal organiza- 
tion when they reached the Black Sea region, and the Agathyrsi 
comprised one of the three units (see above, p. 78). The threefold 
structure has also a matriarchal aspect with the goddess of the 
hearth Tahiti, who organizes the life of the community, at its 
centre; the worship of Hestia (KOIVT] *Ecrrta) of the Getae may 
correspond to this (Vol. vm, p. 550), The bear-father in heaven, 
on the lofty mountain peak, the withdrawal of Zalmoxis to the 
(world-) cave, and the predominant part played by the belief in 
immortality 5 may all belong to this order of ideas. The Scythians 
also introduced the knowledge of iron weapons among the Dacians, 
but the marked Iranian influence is not attributable to the 
Scythians alone. The lazyges and the Roxolani were the Getans' 
instructors in the use of the phalanx of heavy-armed cavalry 
(p. 99), and were in general a contributory factor in prolonging 
Iranian influence down to Imperial times* Hence the Thracian 
horseman divinity retained his original character 6 , and the dragon 
remained the national banner of the Dacian troops 7 , 

Greek influence on the northern Thracians was naturally more 
indirect and far more superficial, though there was a strong 
demand for the excellent Greek manufactures which were bartered 
in exchange for raw materials and slaves. There was a considerable 
market for the products of Greek industry among the Getae and 
also to the north of the Danube, where Istros and the neighbouring 

1 Kretschmer, op at. p 43 sy. 

2 Vita Pythag* 14, 15. 

3 Cfl also Tomaschek, of. cit n, i, p. 10, n. n. 

4 G. Boroffka, 25 Jahre Romisch-Germanische Kommlssion^ pL xn; 
Av Alf&ldi, jfrch* jin%. 1931, p* 403 sq. 

5 Kretschmer, op, at. p. 43 $q. 

6 M. Rostovtzeff, M$m. prh. Fjlcad. d. Inscr. xni, 2, 192,3, p. 405. 

7 Tomaschek, op* dt. I, 1893, 120$ Parvan, *f cit. pp 519 fqq. 


cities controlled the supply 1 , but in the mountainous regions of 
Dacia the imports were, slight indeed. The great bronze hydria 
from Bene is evidence that even in the sixth century such splendid 
manufactures could penetrate as far as Slovakia, just as, conversely, 
scanty reports concerning the inhabitants of Transylvania reached 
the Greeks at this early stage. But in the classical period this 
exchange of commodities was very small. A few of the fibulae 
found at Marosvasarhely and elsewhere may date back to this era., 
but the flow of trade did not really quicken until there came a 
moderate development in the Hellenistic age. Greek palmettos 
on Dacian spiral silver armlets, copies of Mcgarian tankards from 
the Wittenberg near Segesvar^ and especially the circulation of 
Greek coins 3 , attest this tendency. In the third and second 
centuries Dacians accustomed themselves to a monetary system, 
and used the silver coinage of Philip II and especially the gold 
of his son and of Lysimachus. Numerous tetnulntchnis from the 
first Macedonian administrative region and from Thasos also 
penetrated into the land. The vast number of drachmas from 
Apollonia and Dyrrachium, however^ herald the approach of a 
time when Dacia will be a Roman sphere of influence, since these 
cities were used by Rome as military and trading centres. Yet 
coins from the Black Sea coastal cities are also found. 

It was much easier for the Thracians to assimilate the La Tdne 
culture with which they were brought into immediate proximity 
through the Celtic conquests. Whereas in earlier times this culture 
in Transylvania as elsewhere shows a striking uniformity, from 
the second century iue* it develops in its own way into a special 
Dacian branch^ which affords a parallel to the tendency towards 
unification in the political sphere^ since the civilisation of Moldavia 
and Wallachia, as of Transylvania, is uniform in character 4 * On 
the ornaments, mostly of silver, and the other typical articles, 
special Dacian characteristics emerge; while the Macedonian 
and Thasian tetradrachms are replaced by primitive Imitations 
minted locally, A very impressive monument to this Dacian culture! 
and at the same time characteristic of its strange aristocratic 
flavour, Is to be found in Its fortresses, Few of these have as 

1 V, P&rvan, PMtratlen hetttn* et heltinht* dam la twllfa tin Danube, Bull. 
dc la sect hist, do PAauL Rounmmc x, 1923. 

2 J. Nestor, aowto tier. R.G* Jfr*f.p. 160, n. 656. See Vol. of Plates v, 

22, c 9 // 

5 E- Gohl, Numiwnatikm K$%tny, xxx~-xxn, 1 922-1 923 (i 924), pp, 4 syq* 5 
V, Pslrvan, Dada 9 pp. 99 syq* 

4 For the best survey see rfcstor* op* cit pp, 155 $qq 


yet been examined 1 , but their number and the skill with which 
they have been constructed are striking in themselves. The walls 
are unusual : the outer and inner faces are built of squared blocks 
of hewn limestone held together by wooden ties., while the centre 
is packed with rubble and earth; in Gradiste it is reported that 
the blocks of stone bear Greek letters. These walls were built 
to a certain height only, a superstructure of sun-baked brick 
being added. The laborious levelling of platforms among the rocks, 
the transport of the heavy building materials into the mountain 
ranges, the construction of huge circular edifices whether they 
were of practical utility (perhaps as granaries) or served a religious 
purpose is not yet determined 2 these, and many other achieve- 
ments increase our respect for the builders of these strongholds* 
Great treasures of gold coins which came to light in these fast- 
nesses reflect their owners' wealth. 

The prestige of the kings was upheld by the great authority 
of the high priest, whose position doubtless resulted from a 
partition of the functions originally discharged by the priest-king. 
The leading aristocrats were called pilleati^ the free warriors 
capillati (a title reminiscent of the Ostrogothic capillatt): the 
sculpture of the Trajanic age has preserved typical portraits of 
both classes, which reveal the masculine arrogance of their 
character. In time of peace the Dacians practised cattle-breeding, 
and agriculture where there were plains to make it possible. In 
time of war they fought as infantry, and were feared for their 
scythe-like/^c'j', whereas among the Getae cavalry predominated ; 
both peoples were famed for archery. 

At the same period at which friction with Rome began, in other 
words after the occupation of Macedonia, the cultural influence 
of Rome also became more strongly felt. Roman imports on the 
sites of Dacian settlements (such as Campanian bronze ware from 
the first century of our era), and also a list of Dacian botanical 
names originally written in Latin 3 are evidence of this. And, in 
particular, the lively circulation of Roman denarii from the second 
century B.C. onwards, and the local copying of these issues, 
show that the Dacians could adopt the superior Roman culture. 
The enemies which Rome had to face after the thorough-going 
extermination of the Dacians were far more dangerous because 
they were wholly unfamiliar with Roman civilization. 

1 Sec Nestor, op. cit. p. 170 for the literature on this. 

2 Of. ib. pp. 170 sqq. B. Gotze, Arch, _/fe, 1935, pp. 348 sqq. (The 
writer is indebted for this reference to N. Ldng.) 

8 Tomaschek, op. cit. 2, i, pp. 22 $qq. 




A"/7;.f j M"t w* R r f |f ' *" '' 'A nj ' the 1\ n\i ?/ 

PhraatcsIV. 38/7- v' >*<-' TirMaU'K 1 . v'i^S/yiu/, 
Phraataos(I > hraatos V,son of abw). and Mtssi, i Phr.iatr-; ( :) V'--.) 

Wa B.C.-A.h. 4. f Mithrhl.'ttr;*. i", a.;. 9 B.c/ 1 

Oro<It*s III (II in traditional list. See vol. ix. 

VononeaL A.IK 8/9-1 x/z. (Son *f I'hraaifs IV,) \ 

Artabanus III. 10/11-40. 
Vardancs. 40/1 *, 
Gotar/rs. 4*"5** 

Vonones II. $r. 

V<)l<^ust*s I K 51-77. Coins <f * .) I!, 77-9 10 . 
Pacorus IX. 77-96 or later* 

Osrocs, xo6-(?) i jo u . (]!uins; tu 
Vologases IL (?) 130-47* 
Vologases III. 14^91. 
Vol(>f?ascs I V . x 907 1 zo8/<; , 
Volojjascs V* 208/9. Coins 2oK -j 
Artahanus V, az7 in . 

I Vnr.niifi I*. 

J M .i r. 

} Tirid.itrs. ^u 

! (? t'inn<inur* n .) 

| V;ir<i.iru";. 4 % , 4. 

\ Mrhi'nUtfi. 4*^ 

''' M >orr.on*tf V,irtnrri4 

'{ V*li>j,iM". (I IV yg. 

j Art.ikwii 1 ; (IV). 1*0111*179 

I Volni^i^-ji |! I). 1*1 {I 1 ) ; 

The evidence of thr Iitr,iry PDurrri CJiii tr in fit I MipplrmrMin! of v*ifro!l<"*i 1%* flwf <f riri% 
cupccidiy of the silver tf*tr.t<Iracltinn of thr feinx* whii h brjir 4 \rt*r 4l tiwiifh a| ilir Srtrtttftt KM, 
But the IH*VC of tftrilnichnw \vui tft^^ulAf t *>uU tUt* kiti^s* j^oftTftif^ Vkliinh lltrv 4!%^ tvar canttot 
always be kl 4 ntifu*tl, The jcttul i^iuirn f thr kln s 4i*fitHi IVmii llir tr^*ltttt*iut roviil tit!r y ar 
rarely give*!) before the fiij<lllr of t!$<* i*<'oji*l rrnfKiry, ^I'hr c r hr<tttt*1oj?v #f fhr P^^thuii kitsgs tv 
therefore hypothetical ml coittrovrmiil; rr for tliftrrrnt rmntric i !iMtt R II* 
Cttfnsfrtttn tfeltucta on //? Tigris^ p *,<7 

* See vol x, pp. 79 *nd n. 2 a6i, 

11 See W. W. Trn, A///. <7&# s iu |p* 8 |i iyiy. Tim I'hrAittr uji* Imwrvrrt Iv S'ftft 
s Atteitrtl only fey Jicpht Ant* xv (8 S 4), a$ ^ 

* The <jfForti of Vononcii* inon *>f PhrAAtes iK^ittt Iit rivjtl Arfnbatatit %vrw pr 
sometimes sueccAifuU Witneat the cmiw with the Itgrttti ffaai\*{i\ \*vwii\ mu^mi 'Af 

fi On Viirdainei m\d C)p|awr* src vol. x p. 754* 

6 Jo8eplni {/fff/. xx fj, a--^"), 54 '"^v) '* *^** *'*^ty rvMrrirr f*r iliw prrtrmirr, an*t litr whole utory 
may be invented by the }t*wih writer to giortfy lwtrn f the J*wilt fonvrrt u f fir thrrute of A<IiibcA<v 
who it *ai4 to have restored ArttltAuui (p. 1 1 x iy.)* 

7 Vol. i, p. 755. * /. |i, 75 5 ^. 

There arc three group* of com*, of which thrw* of ^4^ H tttffrr frwn ttfr <f 5 1 >.>4 and Hoifi from 
6f 60-7 (tee Volume i>f I*latri v, 124, f-/) Thrw f 54 H rr line Httirtluitrti to Varfwiw 
or a son of Vtrdtancw, the otlirr two to VotogA** 1 * I* 

ltt The history of the Parthian king* tftcr VJfift I in rcmfuied, *rir fniiifp*tie rvtilrnce 
h0w that Votogwtoi 1 w* micccttlwl fcy I*icori II aacl Vologart II. lit 7*1 f**icw rnW ale# 
and wat faced by a nmrper Artabumi* I V, whom lie fsmiMy r^tttttvrii In A.**, Kn. Aflrr Ui# dra*h of 
Pacort48 (the date of which w unknown) began a jwirkl of anart'hy wiiit h ru|r*i willi thr nccrsatmi of 
(>roe (A.P, 3to6) who from tit aha red hia rule with V^Iogaart !l hi* utirt'rwjr tn 4,P, i |o 

u On coinn of 106 appear* (on a i<? of drachma? and lirtwzr rw) head that mint fe-e Qircwt 
(Volume of Plates v t4 jp), who may hav come to thr thrun* then ftrf ferio4 *** dUordrr. Th 
coins of Paicorua cannot be traced after A*P 96. 

" Perhaps co-rtjler with Vologttei U or king of i v**t-St>fr In the Kat a lilf ri *r* nwinly 
fotmd there* 

** There re no 4^td cotn of Artabantia "V, With Wi drath brgina th<r dyily of Ui* 

Persian. " Perhapa wn of Artabanu* V^ Some strock it St lewcek rc xftntf 



FOR centuries the Sarmatae together with the Scythians 
ruled over the steppes of South Russia and thus affected the 
life of the Hellenistic world. For centuries, later, they were the 
dangerous and dreaded enemies of the Roman Empire. They 
shared with their allies, the Germans, and with their cousins, the 
Parthians, the reputation of being a match for the Romans in war 
and of never having been conquered by them. On the contrary, 
in the time of the late Roman Empire, they took their part in its 
conquest by the barbarians. 

The name Sarmatae first appears in our literary tradition at the 
end of the fourth century B.C. in Pseudo-Scylax and Eudoxus of 
Cnidus in the form Syrmatae. Pseudo-Scylax regards them as 
different from the Sauromatae of earlier historians and geo- 
graphers* The same name slightly changed to Sarmatae is 
used by Polybius and the sources of Strabo, as a special designa- 
tion for a group of tribes not identical with the Sauromatae of 
Herodotus. But this distinction between the ancient Sauromatae 
and the new Sarmatae never took firm root. Most of the Greek 
and latin authors of the late Hellenistic and Imperial periods 
used the two names interchangeably and applied freely to the 
Sarmatae of their own times what Hecataeus, Herodotus and 
other early authors had to say of the Sauromatae. This confusion 
is explained by the fact that the two names were probably only 
different spellings of the same Iranian name perhaps Sauruma 1 , 
as well as by the history of the classical Sauromatae and the post- 
classical Sarmatae, 

According to the Iranian tradition the Sauromatae were a 
half-Iranian people, akin to the Scythians, who lived in the sixth 
to the fourth centuries B*C beyond the Don and on the shores of 
the Sea of Azov. One of their main characteristics, and one which 

1 Suggested by Marquartj c H. H. Schaeder in AVh. GiitL Ge$. in, 10 

pp. 50 s w . 


impressed the Greeks, was the important part played by women in 

their social and political life they were, called * ruled by women* 
(yui/aiKOK-paroiJ/xci/ot). Since this feature is common in the life 
of the Anatolians and foreign to the Iranians both to the 
Scythians of Herodotus and later the Sarmatians of Hellenistic 
and Roman times it is very probable that the Sarmattans were 
a mixture of Iranian and Macotian tribes^ and that some of them 
adopted the peculiar social and political structure of the Maeo- 
tians, their so-called v;/f/eY0r;vr;v. Archaeological evidence 
proves that the regions between the Don and the Volga and 
between the Volga and the river Ural were inhabited by a 
group of Scythian tribes from the seventh to the third century 
luc. Some of them those nearest to the Don and the Sea of 
Azov show in their culture., as reflected in their tombs (the 
necropolis of Klizavetovskaia), foreign non-Scythian and non- 
Greek elements together with a strong Creek influence* There h 
no doubt though we have no trustworthy tradition to prove it * 
that Sauromatian tribes often crossed the Don and engaged in 
war with their nominal overlords, the Scythian^ who formed a 
strong State from the seventh to the third century t\ between 
the Don and the Dnieper and farther south in the Crimea, and on 
the Kuban. Traces of these Kastern Scythians have been found in 
graves of the Scythian period in the region of the Dnieper- 
One of the most important and probably most hellenized 
Scytho-Maeotian tribes were the Jazamahtc or Jaxamatac, whose 
queen was Tirgatao> the romantic heroine of a semi-historical 
Scythian novel (vol. vm, jx 564 jy.)* They figure in older 
geographers like Hec&taeus and in writers dependent on them, 
but in the Hellenistic period, they disappear from the tradition 
almost completely* On the other hand, rolybius 1 mentions the 
Sarmattans with their king, (Jatak% as an important State* some- 
where north of the Crimea, ami Polyaenus reports another story 
of a queen-Amazon this time of the; 8urmutr<uis-~Amsigc (voL 
via, p* 58 1), A little later, the I lellenistic sources of Strabo sneak 
of a powerful tribe, the laxyges, the vanguard of the Sarmatians, 
whose original home, according 1 to the sources of Ammianus 
Marcellinus, was the region near the Sea of Afcov, I <ater writers 
inform us that they steadily advanced toward the west and before 
the middle of the first century AJK passed through the regions 
occupied by the Bastarnac and the Dueians and occupied the 
plains between the Danube and the Thciss, where they continued 
to reside for centuries as neighbours of the Roman Empire* Some 
x xxv, 6, 13, referring to 179 B.C 


of their graves in this new home, few of which have been explored, 
have contents, such as funeral chariots, which are foreign to the 
Sarmatian graves in South Russia, and suggest rather the habits of 
the Pontic Scythians. It is possible, therefore, that the lazyges 
are to be identified with the Jazamatae 1 and a reconstruction of 
their history may be attempted. Sometime before 179 B.C. the 
Jazamatae were driven out of their native country near the Sea of 
Azov and then conquered a part of the steppes between the Don 
and the Dnieper, While there, they played an active part, especi- 
ally in the life of the Scythian Empire. Then they advanced 
again to the west, and since they were part of the Sauromatae 
of the early tradition they were the first to receive the name of 

This advance at the end of the second century B.C. was probably 
caused by the appearance in South Russia of Iranian tribes who 
moved westwards in great numbers, and were given the same 
general name Sarmatae. The tradition used by Strabo names two 
groups of these tribes, one in the west, another in the east, in the 
steppes of the northern Caucasus. The former group is mentioned 
by Artemidorus of Ephesus and Posidonius 2 in their diathesis 
(distribution) of peoples on the north-west shore of the Black Sea, 
and by the historians of Mithridates ; the latter appears in the 
tradition which is connected with Pompey's conquest of the East 3 . 
In the first group the leading part is played by the RoxolanL This 
powerful tribe steadily advanced on the heels of the lazyges and 
finally occupied the regions north of them. Still later, they prob- 
ably drove the lazyges out from their former home between the 
Don and the Dnieper. While there, they took an active part in 
the Mithridatic wars in the Crimea (vol. ix, p. 231). The second 
group consisted mainly of two tribes the Aorsi and the Siracians, 
the latter living close to the Kuban valley in the south-eastern 
part of the North Caucasian steppes, the former more to the north 
and west, near the Don and the Sea of Azov. Strabo mentions 
them twice 4 , both times in connection with each other. They 
played an important part in the history of Pharnaces, the son of 
Mithridates, as his faithful and strong allies, the Aorsi being by 
far the stronger. Both tribes appear again in the reign of Claudius, 
now as enemies of each other (vol. x, p, 753)* The Siracians are 
still found in these parts in A.D. 193, but the Aorsi are not men- 
tioned in any trustworthy historical or geographical source after 

1 K. Miillenhoff, Deutsche Jiltertumskunde^ m, p. 39. 

2 ap. Strabo ra, 305 sg* s Ib. XI, 492, 497 sq, 
* Ib. 492, 506, 


the first century In their stead the Alani appear as the leading 
Sarmatlan tribe. 

The provenance of the Aorsl and Alani is known. The Chinese 
Annah (or History) of the Former Ha 77, in describing 1 the western coun- 
tries., mention to the north of Sogdiana an important tribe with the 
name An-ts'aior Yen-ts'ai (vol. ix, p. 585). Since the time of Chang 
Ch'ien at least, the Yen-ts'ai lived near the Aral Sea. The Annals 
describe them as a strong nomadic tribe (100,000 archers), sub- 
ject to Sogdiana (K'ang-chii). The northern Chinese silk route ran 
through their country- The same description with some unim- 
portant changes and additions is repeated by the AnnahuJ the Lafcr 
flatty with the new fact, that in this period the * Kingdom of Ven- 
ts *ai changed its name to that of A-lani/ This statement is con- 
firmed by the record of the Wei (//'V/V/V) with the addition that 
at the time of this record (third century A.IX) the Yen-ts'ai who- 
* formerly were dependent from time to time to a certain extent 
upon K?ang~chil are no longer dependent upon them/ ! t is gener- 
ally agreed that the Aorsi of the western sources are the Yen-ts'ai 
of the Chinese j4nnals y and that some time after A.I>* 25 a new 
tribe got the upper hand of them and gave their own name of Alani 
to the whole confederacy of nomads which they controlled* It is 
no accident that the name * Aorsi * disappears from western sources 
in the second half of the first century A.D. while that of * Alani* 
takes its place (perhaps as early as A.I>* 35)** It is 5 therefore, very 
probable that the great movement of peoples of the second half of 
the second century B.C., which so greatly changed the life of the 
East (vol. ix, p. 582), pushed to the west a group of nomadic 
tribes (perhaps related to the Ytteh-chih). These tribes were very 
little known to the Chinese^ since they spread north and west of 
the Aral Sea* But they formed apparently a powerful nomadic 
State which extended far into Siberia on the north and reached the 
steppes of South Russia in the late second century BX.: one of 
the tribes, the Roxolani, oecupied the steppes between the Don 
and the Dnieper, while others^ under the' name Aorsi* held the 
regions beyond the Don, 

The Siracians belonged to a different stock who maintained 
their independence against both the Aorsi and the Alani* Tribes 
of their name are found in Hyrcania and a part of Armenia near 
a group of Sacae. It is, indeed^ probable that they were a branch 
of the Sacae who pushed on to the steppes north of the Caucasus 
at the time of their great migration (voL xx, p. 583). They may, 
then 3 have appeared there at the same time as the Aorsi from the 
1 Josephus, Ant. xvitt [4, 4], 97. Cf. vol. x, p* 777 nn, 4 and 5* 


north 1 . Some of them ( ? the Aspurgiani) penetrated the Kuban 
valley and played an important part In the history of the Bosporan 
kingdom from the reign of Augustus onwards (vol. x, p. 268). 

In the first two centuries A.D. the Alani sought to expand south 
and west, in the South at the expense of Parthia and the Roman 
province of Cappadocia (A.D. 355 72-3, 1 34-5). It may also have 
been their pressure that thrust the Roxolani on the lazyges, so that 
both these became repeatedly dangerous to Rome on the Danube, 
as has been described elsewhere (voL x s p. 775). It was probably 
about the end of Tiberius' reign that the lazyges passed through 
the country of the Dacians and occupied the area between the 
Theiss and the Danube (see above, p. 85). The Roxolani remained 
in the east, a potential danger to the Empire the more if, as c. A.D. 
62, they joined forces with the Dacians and the Bastarnae at the 
mouth of the Danube. The inscription set up to Plautius Silvanus 2 , 
the general who checked this movement, suggests that yet more 
powerful and dangerous tribes, of whom the Romans knew little, 
stood behind these peoples. Again and again both lazyges and 
Roxolani appeared on the military horizon of Rome before, in 
179/80, Marcus Aurelius earned the title of Sarmaticus that 
was to be borne by many later emperors. In the third century the 
Roxolani seem to have been absorbed into the coalition formed 
by the Goths and the Alani, while the lazyges remained a separate 
people and were active in the struggle on the Danube frontier 
under the late Empire. 

In the first and second centuries the Romans did not come into 
direct contact with the most powerful of the Sarmatians, the Aorsi 
and Alani, except for a moment in A.D, 49, when they allied them- 
selves with the King of the Aorsi to facilitate their support of a 
Roman candidate to the throne of Bosporus. On the other hand, 
these Sarmatians of the North Caucasian steppes and of the Don 
evoked the vigilance of Rome, for they, with the Scythians of 
the Crimea, were the most dangerous enemies of the Bosporan 
kingdom, the client-state that served Rome's interests in the far 

No wars between the Alani and the Bosporan kingdom are 
mentioned in the many inscriptions which celebrate the military 

1 If&pa/c&v is corrected to ^tpd/co>v in Diodorus xx, 22, 4 they appeared 
north of the Caucasus at least as earljr as the fourth century B.C. The name 
of the king in Diodorus, Arlpharnes, is a good Iranian name, and the strength 
of the tribe agrees with accounts of the time of Claudius. Archaeological 
evidence does not conflict with the earlier date. 

2 Dessau 9865 see vol. x, pp, 775 and 806 sy. 


achievements of the Bosporan kings of the first and second 

centuries A.D. The Scythians were apparently more aggressive, 
for wars against them were frequent, and in order to save Cherso- 
nesus the Romans were forced to occupy it with troops^ to 

strengthen its fortifications and to build against the Scythians a 
regular limes across the Crimea,, comparable to a similar fortified 
line built across their own peninsula by the Bosporan kings. 
Against the piracy of the Scythians both the Bosporan kings and 
Rome kept a flotilla on the Black Sea (vol. x, p. 7 75)* The lack of any 
direct mention of wars between Bosporus and the Alani may, 
however, be an accident. In the reign of Antoninus Pius the Alani 
were restless and probably threatened the Bosporan kingdom 
(p* 33)" ^ n A - T> - *93 wc hear of a war of Sauromatos II against 
the Siracians 1 , who may have been at that time vassals of the Alani, 
and we know, both from coins and inscriptions, that Tamil's on 
the Don and the Greek cities of the Tannin peninsula were 
repeatedly fortified by the Bosporan king, at least from the days 
of DomitlaiTu This may be combined with the mention in two 
inscriptions of a regular service of interpreters of the Bosporan 
kingdom, who were in charge of diplomatic relations between 
Bosporus and the Alani an important official of Bosporus has 
the title * Chief interpreter of the Alani* (a/>)(ep/j^*'ev9 r<w 
*AXcu><2v) a . And yet the Alani never made real efforts to become 
masters of the Greek cities of the Black Sea, In their attitude 
toward them they were very tolerant and very liherah This attitude 
Is certainly to be explained, not only by the support which the 
Romans gave to the Bosporus, but also by the desire of the Alani 
to have In the Greek cities trustworthy commercial agents for 
their trade with the West and to use them as centres of supply 
for the products of Greek industry, of which some of them were 
very fond. 

Friendly relations between the Alani and the Bosporan king- 
dom and Olbia, which was at times under the control of the 
Bosporan kings, are also attested by the peaceful penetration of 
Sarmatians into the Greek cities of Bosporus, which led to the 
gradual Iranizatlon of the Bosporan kingdom* Hundreds of resi- 
dents in these Greek cities now bear Sarmatian names, and all of 
them wear Sarmatian dress and use Sarmatian weapons* Last but 
not leasty the ruling dynasty of Bosporus itself assumes an ever 
more Iranian aspect. Along with Thracian dynastic names appears 

1 las. P. E* n, no. 423. 

3 fiuU. Cemm. Arch. 40* p. 112 no. 285 Us. P. IL n, p* 296, no. 86* j c 

LG.R.JR. i, 261 a Bosporan Interpreter at Rome, 


a new name Sauromates, which may reflect the fact that many 
subjects of the Bosporan king were Sarmatian. The figure of the 
king on horseback, adoring the supreme god, as it appears on the 
coins of Bosporus in the second century A.D., is almost exactly the 
same as the figure of the king on contemporary Parthian and 
Graeco-Sacian coins 1 . In the third century the grave of a Bos- 
poran king or noble was not much different from that of an Alan 
of the same rank. So strong a sarmatization would be impos- 
sible, were not relations between the Alani and the Bosporus both 
constant and friendly* 

With the third century the situation changed. The Alani, who 
maintained constant relations with the Germanic tribes that were 
gradually occupying the valley of the Dnieper, became merged 
with the Germans, or rather, became a part of the Gothic-Alanic 
kingdom of South Russia. Thus they came to be neighbours of 
the Romans, and they took part in most of the enterprises of the 
Goths, Suebi and Vandals against the Empire. In the south of 
Russia, Olbia and Tanais were destroyed, and Panticapaeum be- 
came a Gotho-Sarmatian city. Later centuries were to witness 
the gradual advance of the Goths, Vandals and Alani to France, 
to Spain and finally to Africa. 


Very little is known of the organization of Sarmatian political 
life. There are kings and barons, the skeptouchoiy and it may be 
assumed that the Sarmatians, like all the Iranians, had a kind of 
monarchical feudal State. Our sources are unanimous in regarding 
all the Sarmatian tribes, with the exception of the Siracians, as 
nomads leading a pastoral life and breeding great numbers of 
cattle. Their small, swift horses were famous in the Roman world. 
In a well-known inscription found at Apta 2 on the Durance the 
Emperor Hadrian praises and commemorates his 'Borysthenes 
Alanus Caesareus veredus* that 'flew 1 with him over swamps 
and hills of Tuscany as he hunted the wild boar. 

There is no doubt that the Sarmatians were Iranians near rela- 
tions of the Scythians. The descendants of the Alani the Ossetes 
in the Northern Caucasus still speak an Iranian language and most 
of the non-Greek names in the Bosporan cities, especially in Tanais 
in Imperial times, are Iranian. The Sarmatian aristocracy was 
probably very rich. Through the empire of the Aorsi-Alani, which 

1 Volume of Plates v, I 24 a y b> c. 

% C.LL. xn, 1 122, a, 11. i-6 c Dio wax, 10, 2. 

C.A.K. XI 7 


occupied vast regions to the north of the Caspian and Aral Seas 
and included the eastern part of the South Russian steppes, there 
ran an important caravan road connecting the Greek cities of the 
Black Sea with China, witness its description in the Chinese 
sources and the many Chinese articles, especially mirrors, which 
have been found in Sarmatian graves and at Panticapaeum (frag- 
ments of silk stuff's of Chinese workmanship of the second 
century A.D.). Furthermore, according to Strabo 1 , many Indian 
and Babylonian products passed through Media and Armenia 
across the Caucasus into the regions occupied by the Aorsi and 
thence probably to the harbours of the Bosporan kingdom. Strabo 
meant probably the important trade-routes, one of which ran from 
India through Parthia to the Oxus and from there to the Caspian, 
the other from Babylonia along the Tigris and the Kuph rates* 

Since the Greeks and Romans met the Sarmatians mostly on 
the field of battle, their information on the military equipment, 
strategy and tactics of the Sarmatae is much more complete than 
on their religious 2 , social and economic lite, of which, we know 
practically nothing, A combination of the descriptions of the 
Sarmatian army given by Strabo, Joscphus, Tacitus, Arrian, 
Pausanias and Ammlanus Marccllinus gives a picture which is 
very similar to that of the Parthian, Armenian and Iberian armies 
given by the same and other writers, The dominant feature is the 
prominent part played in the army by a body of heavy cataphracts 
with metal helmets, whose chief weapons were long heavy lances 
and swords, the bow being subsidiary* This body of mailed 
knights mounted on armoured steeds was made up, according to 
Tacitus 3 , of members of the Sarmatian aristocracy, while the main 
body of the army was formed by light-armed Iwwmcn, protected 
by leather corselets and leather caps, A like combination of heavy 
cavalry in close formation and swarms of nimble archers existed 
earlier in the steppes of Russia, at the time of the Scythian domi- 
nation, But the new system was then in its beginnings, and the 
new type of a mailed phalanx had not yet been created. Who 
deserves the credit of having used it first, we do not know. It 

1 xi> 506, Strabo adds that the Aorsi fopvaroKftopmw Kitl rfyv 

B The Sarniatians were probably Mazdacans. Ammianus Marccllinus 

(xxx, ii 10) &ys that before battle they shouted * fit/what MW/M.' This 

name appears in a poem in honour of a Parthian governor m that of the 
supreme god, Fr, Cumont, G* JR. Jc Inscr. 1931, pp* 278 tyy. But E* 
Benveniste (Journ* Aslat. 221, 1931, pp. *3S*r?y) identifies the battle-cry 
with the Persian ''merdu mard 9 (*man against man*), 
3 Ifist. x, 79; cf. Ann, vi, 35, 


must have been a people controlling a certain supply of iron and 
bronze, which suits both the Aorsi 3 masters of the Ural mountains., 
of the Altai and of the Minussinsk region, and the Parthians, who 
got their iron and steel through Merv. It must be noted.* how- 
ever, that the resources of the Sarmatian tribes in iron were not very 
large, since Ammianus Marcellinus 1 describes the Sarmatae as 
wearing scale-armour, not of iron but of horn. A specimen of this 
armour dedicated in the temple of Asclepius at Athens moves 
Pausanias 2 to observe how skilfully they made good their defici- 
ency in iron* The mode of fighting used by the Sarmatians was 
much the same as that of the Parthians : the piece de resistance was 
the attack of the mailed, mounted phalanx, prepared and sup- 
ported by the archers. Duels between the leaders of Iranian hosts 
in which the lasso and wrestling played an important part were 

The picture given by classical authors is illustrated by many 
monuments of Graeco-Roman and Oriental art of the Hellenistic 
and Roman periods, as, for example, the figures of enemy cata- 
phracts on the column of Trajan and similar figures on the arch 
of Galerius at Salonica. It is very probable that the first are meant 
to represent the equestrian phalanx of the Roxolani, while the 
second are the Sarmatian ''foederati* of the army of Galerius in his 
Persian expedition (A.D. 296). No pictures of Sarmatian warriors 
appear on the objects found in their graves. But the Sarmatian 
military organization had a strong influence on that of the Bosporan 
kingdom in the first three centuries A.D. Many grave paintings 3 
of this period at Panticapaeum show Panticapaean victories over 
their enemies, the Scythians and Taurians of the Crimea. These 
pictures are probably copies of parts of the monumental paintings 
which were dedicated by the Bosporan kings and their generals 
to commemorate these victories 4 . The Panticapaeans are repre- 
sented either as a mounted phalanx or as single heroes charging 
their enemies 5 , alone or at the head of their infantry. They always 
wear the complete equipment of a Sarmatian cataphract long 

1 xvii, 2, 2. 

2 i, 21, 57. It may be noted that this type of armour has occasionally 
been found in South Russian graves. 

3 Volume of Plates v, 24, a. 

4 A picture of this kind is mentioned, for instance, as dedicated in a new 
temple, to commemorate a victory of Sauromates I (A.D. 96123) over the 
Scythians; los* P.E* iv, no, 202. 

5 This combat between heroes is typical of Iranian art and mentality, and 
is a most common motive of Parthian and Sassanian art and of the great epics 
of the nomads of Asia, 



scale-cuirass, conical scale-helmet, sword and a long, heavy lance 1 ,, 
while their enemies are bare-headed, mounted archers of the 
Scythian type. The same Sarmatian equipment appears also on 
many Panticapaean grave-stelae and on a commemorative monu- 
ment fromTanais* Even the Bosporan kings adopted it in the second 
century A.D., as is shown by their coins, and it appears also on 
pictures engraved on the rocks along the Yenisei river, pictures 
which probably represent the eastern Asiatic Aorsi-Alani. Finally 
may be mentioned a gold plaque found in Siberia, which repre- 
sents a Sarmatian hunting a wild boar 2 . As .he is hunting, not 
fighting, he wears the nomadic riding kaftan of leather and not the 
cuirass and is using the bow. But: his long sword hangs down 
from the shoulder. The peculiar manner of wearing this sword 
which slides on a special porte-pce y appears over and over again 
on many monuments of Oriental art, for example in India, and 
swords with this porte-epee (mostly of jade) have been found in 
the Volga region and at Panticapaeum and in many Chinese and 
Korean graves of the Han period. The Yenisei pictures and the 
Siberian plaque may attest the extension of Sarmatian domination 
over large parts of Siberia as far as the Minussinsk region. 

The evidence collected above, which bears on the history and life 
of the Sarmatums, is supported and completed by archaeological 
material. No cities or other settlements of the Sarmatians have 
been excavated. The Sarmatians were nomads and became seden- 
tary city-dwellers only as emigrants who settled down in some of 
the Greek cities or as successors of earlier residents of the regions 
which the Sarmatians had conquered, for example, Uspa, the 
capital of the Siracians. The archaeological evidence for their life 
and art must be derived^ therefore, from their graves* Very few 
of these have been systematically excavated* A small group in the 
region of the Ural river, some cemeteries along the lower Volga 
and a set of tumulus graves in the Kuban valley make up the list. 
The rest of our archaeological evidence comes from chance finds 
in various parts of the wide area inhabited by the Sarmatians- 
graves in Western Siberia, others in the region of the Don and the 
Donetx and burials in the region of the Dnieper and further to the 

1 This is typical also of the Parthian army (Volume of Plates 5v 26, f) and 
was borrowed in the second and third century A.IX, by units of the Roman 
army. Two Roman sets of horse-armour of caeaph races, probably of the 
cohort xx Palmynmorum, were recently found at Dount) see F, Brown in 

Dura, Rep. vi. A Parthian composite bow was found intact in 1934 at Ira 
near Doura; sec Dt4ra y Reps, vnvm. 

2 Volume of Plates v, 24, b. 


west. The Sarmatian graves may be subdivided in chronological 
groups Hellenistic, early Imperial and late Imperial, Some 
local peculiarities may also be noted. The most important local 
group is that of the early Hellenistic graves of the Taman penin- 
sula of the Kuban valley, and of the region of the lower Don, The 
rich graves recently discovered in the Altai mountains and in 
Mongolia show the same general characteristics as the Eastern 
European and Siberian graves and certainly belong to the same 
time and to the same civilization. But whether the chieftains 
buried in these graves were Iranian or Mongolian princelings no 
one can say. 

As regards the archaeological evidence for the nomadic graves 
of the Sarmatian period, which cannot here be described in detail, 
it will suffice to say that the armour and weapons found in them 
all coincide with those described in the literary and archaeological 
evidence analysed above. We find as especially typical the sword, 
the heavy lance and the various types of body-armour, the scale- 
cuirass, plate, ring or chain mail. The persistence of these makes 
these graves, whether the more modest or the more ambitious, a 
single group throughout the Hellenistic and early Imperial period, 
with certain chronological and local subdivisions. It is to be ob- 
served that the same equipment appears in Parthia, Armenia and 
Iberia, all Iranian or iranized countries. It penetrated also into 
China and India, but never appears there in the same pure form. 
Whether it was also used by the Mongolian nomads cannot as yet 
be said with confidence. 

Archaeological evidence for the Sarmatian burials of the Volga 
and Kuban regions, which are identical in almost all details, is 
especially rich. It may be useful to quote a reconstruction of the 
picture of a typical Volga-Sarmatian tribesman (not a chieftain) 
derived from the objects found in scores of contemporary graves 
of this region. * Dressed in a shirt and long trousers, which were 
adorned with small beads above and larger ones below, wearing a 
short overcoat which was fastened with a safety-piti on the right 
shoulder and a leather cap covered with bronze scales, his body 
protected by scale-armour and his feet by low, soft shoes, the 
Volga nomad appeared high on his horse, holding his small, 
curved bow. On a strap from his right shoulder, a red quiver, 
filled with long, painted arrows, hung down on his left side, while 
a sword long or short was fastened at his right side. A lance 
completed his military equipment 1 / This description may be 
compared with that of an average Roxolan given by Strabo 2 . The 

* P. Rykov, Das swslowsche Hugelgrabfeld, p, 20 $q. 2 vir, 306. 


equipment of the chieftain was, of course, more ambitious and 
Biore complicated. The main point, however, is that this is entirely 

different from the ancient Iranian equipment of the Scythian 
warriors of the sixth to the fourth centuries B.C. (voL in, pp. 197 
j-<j^.). The typical Scytho-Persian dagger (rf/;//f&?.f), the short 

javelins, th&goryntS) the Scythian bow, the triangular arrow-heads, 

the Greek helmet -all have disappeared completely and are never 
found in the Sarmatian graves. 

Another typical feature of the Sarmatian graves is the complete 
change in artistic tastes and styles. The Sarmatians no doubt 

brought their own art with them from their Oriental home. One 
of the striking traits of the earlier eastern Sarmatian graves is the 
entire absence of imported ( Jreek objects, which are so common in 

Pontie Scythian graves, an absence which persisted in the eastern 
branches of the Sarmatian stock, for example the Volga Sarmatians. 

Not that all the objects which these Sarmatians wore were home- 
made; some were imported, but none from Greece. Persia and 

China were the countries with which the eastern Sarmatians were 
in constant commercial relations. The picture is different for the 
western Sarmatians of the Kuban river and the Don, who were 
good customers of the C Jreek cities of the Black Sea. But even in 
the western Sarmatian graves the Greek objects arc but a foreign 
addition to a nomadic Oriental stock, 

So far as imports are concerned, one group of Sarmatian graves 
appears in a quite peculiar light. A number of 1 Icllcnistic graves 
of the Taman peninsula, the Kuban valley and the region of the 
lower Don have yielded, alongside the objects typical of the 
Sarmatian period, a large number of silver anil gold nhalcrac, 
which took the place of the earlier Scythian plaques used for horse- 
trappings. These phalerae, and jewels found with them, show 
such similarity ? both in style and subjects, to the earlier products 
of Graeco-Sacian art that it must be assumed that the men who 
used them belonged to the same group as that which created the 
peculiar Graeco-Sacian art which is so closely related to early 
Parthian art* These Graeco~Sacian phalerae were apparently im- 
ported by the Siracians into South Russia and spread from there 
along the north shore of the Black Sea. 

Our information regarding the Sarmatian type of art is scanty. 
The only objects of a more or less artistic character that the graves 
have yielded are of metal, the local pottery being very coarse and 
the better grades of pottery and glass imported* And yet even this 
scanty supply shows some features which are interesting in them- 
selves aaoi important from the point of view of the evolution of 

Ill, n] SARMATIAN ART 103 

art In both East and West. One of these features is the great love 
of the Sarmatlans for effects of colour: their arms and weapons, 
their silver and gold plate, the metal plaques sewn on their gar- 
ments are regularly adorned with rows and groups of inset coloured 
stones. Instead of, or along with them, a peculiar type of enamel 
is often used. Polychromy in jewelry and toreutics was all the 
fashion of the day in the classical world of the Hellenistic period 
in general, and this fashion was inherited by Roman art and is 
especially noticeable in the provincial art of the Empire. It reached 
the Hellenistic kingdoms both from Egypt and from the Semitic 
and Iranian East, while the Roman provinces of central and 
eastern Europe added to it Celtic features polychrome metal- 
lurgy was age-old in the Celtic countries and developed it in 
their own way. Sarmatian polychrome jewelry and toreutics has, 
however, its own cachet and its own development parallel to, and 
independent of, the evolution of polychromy in the Near East 
and in western Europe, and resembles that of the Parthian king- 
dom, India and China. A reflection of this eastern development 
may be seen in the costumes, jewelry and silver and gold plate of 
Palmyra (p. 130), This eastern branch of polychrome jewelry 
one of the peculiar features of it being enamel cloisonne came 
into touch with the western branch, both in Syria and in South 
Russia and on the Danube, In the south this style was spread by 
the Parthians and the Sassanian Persians, in the north by the 
Sarmatians* It was the characteristic style of the North which was 
in the main responsible for the gorgeous development of poly- 
chrome metallurgy in the period of the Migrations and in the early 
Middle Ages, the Sassanian influence being merely subsidiary. 

Still more characteristic is another feature of Sarmatian art 
its love for animal forms and its peculiar style of ornamentation 
which is usually called the "animal style.' This style had long 
obtained in central Asia. It came with the Scythians to South 
Russia where in the seventh to the fourth century B.C. it developed 
in its own way* To this early Asiatic animal style the Sarmatian is 
certainly closely related. Yet it is not a continuation of the Pontic 
or Scythian branch of it; it marks a new period in the development 
of the original animal style of Asia unaffected by Greek influence, 
which was so strong in the later period of the Pontic or Scythian 
variety. The Sarmatian animal style is at once vigorous and savage 
and highly refined and stylized, though in a way different 
from the earlier Scythian stylization of the animal forms. It com- 
bines, moreover, the polychrome and the animal style in a most 
skilful and, at the same time, * barbarous/ way. 


The most important objects which represent the Sarmatian, 

i.e. neo-A static, animal style come partly from Western Siberia, 
partly from South Russia (especially the region of the Don). They 
belong to the adornments of dresses and to horse-trappings of the 
great Sarmatian chieftains. On the other hand, the animal style 
is but poorly represented in more .modest graves, both of the 
Kuban and of the Volga region* It was an art of the ruling 
aristocracy. Whether or not it was confined to the Iranian aristo- 
cracy, it is hard to say. In all probability it was the art of the ruling 
Asiatic families in general, since it 5s found so splendidly displayed 
in princely graves of Mongolia and of the Altai, which hardly 
belonged to Iranian tribal chieftains. It may have been imported 
into China, where the style was fashionable mostly on the border- 
lands for a time, by the Ytteh-ehih^ but more probably by the I funs, 
who for centuries were the nearest neighbours of the Chinese. 
In Siberia and in South Russia, however, the neo-Asiatic animal 
style was certainly patronized by the great chieftains of the Aorsi 
and the Alani, whom Strabo characterizes as * wearers of gold* 
(p. 98, n. i). On the other hand, it never became the mode among 
the Parthians or Sassanian Persians. 

The development of western Kuropean art owes but little to 
this style* It certainly influenced the art of the upper Volga and 
Kama, and some elements of it perhaps penetrated into early 
Scandinavian art, which had its own native animal style. Some 
features of the late Gotho-Sarmatic polychrome art may be derived 
from the neo-Asiatic animal style and may have penetrated with 
the Goths, Alani and Vandals into western Kurope. Another 
source of animal motives may have been the art of the later Mon- 

foUan invaders of western Kurope the Huns, the Avars, the 
"ulgats and the Magyars, But, on the whole the animal style 
of the Romanesque, Carolingian and Gothic periods must be 
regarded as only partly derived from these sources. 


The Parthian Empire, as created by Mithridatcs II (vol. ix, 

pp, 584 Sfff.^ was surrounded by strongj warlike and ambitious 

rivals. To the west were Roman provinces and client-states and 
the Independent Arab tribes of the Syrian desert* On the north 
to the^we&t of the Caspian beyond the Armenians, Iberians and 

Albanians,* who were all more or less under Parthian protectorate 
or influence, lay the powerful well-organizedy well-armed and 
warlike Sarmatians* especially the Alani, who since their settle- 


ment in the Northern Caucasus took every opportunity to invade 
the Parthian lands through one of the two Caucasian Gates 
(Darial and Derbend), while to the east of the Caspian Parthia 
faced the many nomadic Iranian tribes known to the Western 
world under the general name of Scythians 1 . Farther to the east 
lay the successors of the Bactrian Greeks, the growing kingdom 
of the Yueh-chih and Tokharians, which separated Parthia from 
the great Chinese Empire of the later Han, and finally, towards 
the south-east and south, the border-lands of India. 

Of the struggles of the Parthians against their enemies in the 
north, the east and the south comparatively little is known. Where 
evidence is more ample is on the relations of Parthia and Rome, 
and this comes from Roman sources and represents the Roman 
point of view. Roman policy towards Parthia is the topic of other 
chapters, but at the cost of some repetition, it is worth while to 
attempt a reconstruction of the course of Parthian policy in its 
turn. When Parthia and Rome first faced each other it was as 
claimants to the heritage of the Seleucid monarchy. The prestige 
won by Pompey in the East was dimmed by the defeat of Crassus, 
Caesar's plans were cut short by his death, and Antony failed to 
avenge Crassus. His disastrous retreat, and the Parthian offensive 
into Syria that preceded it, convinced Augustus that Parthia was 
a serious enemy and inspired the Roman public at large with a 
lasting fear and respect for the Parthians 2 . But both Augustus and 
the Parthian king realized that, as defeat to either would be fatal, 
victory would not be without danger and would lead nowhere. 

An expansion of the Roman Empire into Central Asia and 
India, though not impossible, meant a complete new orientation 
of the Roman Empire and its hellenization and onentalization. 
This was against the leading political Western ideas of Augustus. 
Equally the King Phraates was well aware that it was idle to 
dream of the conquest of Syria with the forces and organization 
of an Empire whose main task and main strength lay in the East 
and whose structure was perforce feudal and half-nomadic. On 
the other hand a modus m^endi promised good returns both for 
Parthia and Rome; regular caravan trade well-organized and well- 
protected was a source of income for both powers, inasmuch as it 
yielded large custom duties to their treasuries and brought pros- 
perity both to Syria and Mesopotamia. Thus the modus vivendi 

1 Sacae, Massagetae, Dahae and the rest, according to Pliny: multitude 
innumera et quae cum Parthis ex aequo degat. N.H. vi, 5 5 c f- V" 1 * * *2- 

2 Besides the Augustan poets, see Strabo xi, 515$ Tacitus, Ann. xn, iOj 
Justin XLr, I, I. 


came into being: the Euphrates as frontier, the development of 
the buffer-state of Palmyra as a centre of Partho-Roman exchange 

and perhaps a kind of commercial agreement between Parthia 
and Rome. The Parthians agreed to satisfy Roman honour by de- 
livering up the standards and captives of Crassus and Antony, and 
Augustus in return ceased to support the pretender Tiridates and 
insured Parthia against future pretenders by keeping the dan- 
gerous princes of the Arsacid house in Rome (vol. x> pp. 260^.). 
This understanding, reinforced by a later demonstration of Roman 
power, was kept and carried out by Tiberius. Especially success- 
ful was the mission of Germanieus, who probably made Roman 
influence in Palmyra stronger than before and regulated Palmyra's 
relations to Parthia and Rome- At the same time he entered, 
perhaps in the name of Palmyra* into diplomatic relations with 
some of those petty vassal dynasts of Parthia who held the keys 
to the great caravan roads leading to Syria and Asia Minor 
(vol. x> pp. 6ai > 747 n. 2). 

However* there remained one question which urgently re- 
quired regulation, the question of Armenia. It is unnecessary to 
point out the strategical importance of Armenia (vol. x^ p. 260,?^). 
An independent Armenia was unacceptable alike to the Romans 
and the Parthians > neither of whom had forgotten the power of 
Tigranes fifty years before. Armenia in the hands of the Romans 
meant for Parthia a constant threat to Mesopotamia aiul its flourish- 
ing 1 caravan cities, and Mesopotamia was the key to Babylonia: to 
lose it was equivalent to the potential surrender of all the western 
satrapies of Parthia, On the other hand, Rome was not willing 
to leave Armenia to the Parthians, since it opened to them an easy 
access to the Black Sea, secured for them a supremacy over Iberia 
and Albania and thus the command of an important trade-route 
to the Bast, connected the Parthian Empire with the half- Iranian 
countries of Cappadocia* Pontus and Commagenc, and made 
possible an alliance between the Parthians and their cousins the 
Sarmatians, the great rivals of Rome in the north-east* Thus the 
Armenian question became the chief obstacle to a lasting peace 
between the two Empires and led repeatedly to wars and diplo- 
matic conflicts, 

Augustus and Tiberius insisted upon solving the Armenian 
problem in the traditional Roman way, by making Armenia a 
Roman vassal-state under the rule of a hcllenizcd client-king. 
Phraates accepted this solution and undermined by this Ms posi- 
tion in Parthia, since the leading aristocratic clans were bitterly 
opposed to it. This led to the elimination of Phraates 1 successor 


Phraataces and to the downfall of the Arsacids of the Mithrldatic 
line in Parthia 1 . The short rule of Vonones opened the eyes of the 
Parthians to the danger of becoming a hellenizing vassal-kingdom 
of Rome and led to a national Iranian reaction which gave the 
throne to Artabanus, a member of a collateral branch of the 
Arsacids connected with the home-land of the Parthians and with 
Hyrcania and Atropatene. It is characteristic of Artabanus' 
aspirations that he at once insisted on his own solution of the 
Armenian problem : the ruler of Armenia must be a member of 
the ruling house of Parthia, an Arsacid. Since, however, Vonones, 
the former king of Parthia, the rival of Artabanus, who once won 
a splendid victory over him, was now the actual king of Armenia, 
Artabanus, in order to eliminate this danger and to deprive 
Vonones of Roman support, was ready to accept for a while a 
compromise which was suggested by Germanicus. A neutral hel- 
lenized king ruled again over Armenia. But this compromise was 
not lasting. As soon as Artabanus, whose hands were for a while 
tied up by important wars in the East, felt free and strong again s 
he renewed his claim to rule over Armenia through a member of 
his house. He failed, however, a second time and in the same way. 
Instead of Vonones Tiberius used romanized Arsacids, first 
Phraates and then Tiridates, as his tools, and after this diversion 
Artabanus was forced again to give up his plan. The interview 
between Artabanus and Vitellius was one of the greatest diplo- 
matic victories of Tiberius (vol. x, p. 749 sq.}. Armenia was in 
the hands of a prince of the neighbouring Iberian dynasty, vassals 
of Rome. 

However, no lasting peace could be established on such a basis. 
The Armenian question remained acute. It is characteristic of 
the urgency of this problem that Vardanes in his short rule was 
ready to raise it again and it is very probable that the episode of 
Meher dates whom Claudius put up as a pretender (voLx, p. 755)was 
in one way or another connected with similar plans and aspirations 
of the Hyrcanian Gotarzes. No wonder, therefore, if Vologases I, 
in agreement with his brothers, raised the question again and did 
not shrink from long and bloody wars to gain a solution accept- 
able both to Rome and to Parthia. The solution, though a compro- 
mise, satisfied the vital interests of the Parthians. The brother of 
Vologases, Tiridates, became king of Armenia but he received 
his crown from the hands of Nero in Rome (vol. x, p, 773). Thus 
a modus vivendi was established for a while and lasted until the 
end of the Flavian dynasty* 

1 See List of Parthian kings, p. 90. 


With Trajan the question became acute once more. The origin 
of the conflict between Trajan and Pacorus first and Osroes 
afterwards is unknown. But it is certain that it involved the ques- 
tion who was to be king of Armenia. Whether or not the trouble 
was complicated by an invasion of the Parthians into Syria is a 
matter of controversy and does not concern us here. Suffice it to 
say that Trajan decided to solve the Armenian problem in his own 
radical way: Armenia was to become a Roman province pro- 
tected by Mesopotamia and Adiabene occupied by Roman garri- 
sons, and Parthia was to be ruled by a Roman nominee, a client- 
king of Rome (p. 249). 

The conquest of Mesopotamia by Trajan and his capture of 
the royal capital Ctesiphon produced a tremendous impression 
on the Parthians and certainly aroused a strong national reaction: 
witness the revolt of Mesopotamia and Adiabene under the leader- 
ship of members of the house of the Arsaeids while Trajan was 
at Ctesiphon, The invasion of Trajan is mentioned as a kind of 
era by the chronicle of Arbela 1 and as late as A.D. 572, according to 
John of Ephesus 2 ., the Romans reminded the Sussanian Persians 
of Trajan and emphasized the fact that statues of him were still 
standing in Persia and the Persians were afraid of riding by them* 

This national reaction was probably the chief reason why 
Hadrian restored the legitimate kings in Parthia and gave Meso- 
potamia back to them, controlling Armenia indirectly through 
vassal-kings 3 . Our scanty information on the time of I istdrian and 
Antoninus Pius does not reveal the conditions on which an under- 
standing between Parthia and Rome was reached. It is not im- 
probable, however, that in return for restoring the status quo 
Hadrian received important concessions. We hear that he aid 
not exact tribute from Mesopotamia 4 , which may mean that his right 
to do so was acknowledged, i.e. that the status of Mesopotamia was 
not exactly the same as before the war* The appointment of 
Parthamaspates as king of Edessa shows that the status of 
Armenia was to a certain extent extended to some minor king- 
doms of Mesopotamia. This led to complications, and a new 

1 E. Sachau, Bay. Abh* 1915, 6> p. 43 $q* 

2 Ed. Schonfelder, pp. 251-3. It is probable that there were statues 
of Trajan in Parthia: witness the triumphal arch in his honour at Doura 
and the mention of the export of bronze statues to Parthia in the tariff 
of Palmyra (LG.R.R. in, 1056; iv, 29 ^.j C. L S. n, 3, no, 3913). 

3 As the order to evacuate Doura is now known to have preceded the 
death of Trajan (seep. 61 7, n. 3, and M. Rostov tvseflf in C. JR. Jc Imcr. 1 935, 
pp. 285 sqq.) 9 it was he who began the policy of concessions to Parthia, 

* S. H. A. Hadr, 21, 12, 


arrangement was achieved in 123 when the former dynasty 
was restored. It Is also significant that, though King Osroes 
received back from Hadrian his daughter whom Trajan had 
captured, the royal throne was never sent back to Ctesiphon 
either by Hadrian or by Antoninus, as Hadrian had promised. 
This was probably regarded by the Parthians as a humiliating 
symbol of inferiority. The merchants of Palmyra never felt more 
at home in the great commercial cities of Parthla than in the times 
of Hadrian and Antoninus and statues of Roman emperors may 
even have stood in the Palmyrene quarter of the royal Parthian 
caravan-city of Vologasia 1 . In the time of Hadrian and later. Pal- 
myra had detachments of her own desert police (mounted archers) 
in all the Important towns of the Euphrates frontier with Parthia. 
Doura was one of these and Anath (Anah) another 2 , A strong 
Parthia was bound to resent Roman predominance, and more than 
once in the reigns of Hadrian and Antoninus the Roman Empire 
was threatened by a war on the eastern frontier (pp. 3*3, 345)- 

The break came with Vologases III. Conditions were troubled 
In the Parthian Empire in the last years of Osroes and during the 
rule of Vologases II. Rival rulers contested the throne of both of 
them 3 . Vologases III probably yielded to the pressure of public 
opinion and decided to put an end to the conditions created by 
Trajan's expedition. It was again the question of Armenia which 
led to the war, which started with the appointment of an Armenian 
king by Vologases and with two crushing defeats of the Roman 
governors of Cappadocia and Syria who tried to save the prestige 
of Rome in Armenia. The expeditions of Lucius Verus against 
Parthia began with the reconquest of Armenia in 1 634, followed 
by the occupation of Mesopotamia and an expedition against 
Ctesiphon an exact repetition of Trajan's campaign. 

The results of the three campaigns of Lucius were, however, 
not decisive (p. 349). The war ended in a compromise. Armenia 
remained a vassal-kingdom garrisoned by Rome; the most im- 
portant Mesopotamia*! cities were also held by Roman forces 
and the Euphrates limes (or defence-system) was extended from 
Sura to points south of Doura, which last became a strong 
Roman fortress 4 (p. 618 jy.). But Vologases remained king at 

1 Inscription of Palmyra, R. Mouterde and A. Poidebard in Syria, xii, 
1931, pp. 101 sqq* 

* See F. Brown and M, Rostovtzeff in C, JR. Jc, Inscr. 1935, pp. 300 sqq. 

3 See List of Parthian kings, p. 90. 

4 See M. Rostovtzeff in BulL Comm. jtrch. xxxni, 1909, pp. i sqq. (Ar- 
menia) ; Munch. Beit. %ur Papyrmforschung, xix, 1934, pp. 351 sqq* (Doura). 


Ctesiphon, and It was plain that another war could not be long 

The next war began in the troubled time after the death of 
Commodiis. The Parthians never became reconciled to the loss of 
Mesopotamia,, and It was a revolt in Mesopotamia (Osrhoene and 
Adlabene) that was the beginning of Septimius Severus* opera- 
tions against Parthia which ended in the capture of Ctesiphon. 
This capture,, however, was no more than a military demonstra- 
tion Intended to frighten Parthia and make Mesopotamia safe 
for Rome, for Severus never thought of extending the Roman 
province to include lower Mesopotamia. This new humiliation 
exasperated the Iranians and led to the first serious rising of 
vassal-kingdoms against the Arsacids. Persia and Media revolted, 
a fact which was unknown until the discovery of a local chronicle 
of Arbela 1 . 

The last phase of what was now the question for Rome and 
Parthia, the rival claim to Mesopotamia, was a new war that began 
in 215 under Caracalla, who sought to profit by the dynastic 
dissensions of Armenia and of Parthia. But fortune was not with 
Rome. Though Caracalla once captured the Armenian king 
Tiridates by treachery and once apparently secured his extradition 
from the Parthian king Vologases V J 3 a less pliant rival of Volo- 
gases, Artabanus V, took his place on the throne of Parthia* The 
Roman general Theocritus was sent against Armenia but was 
defeated, Caracalla invaded Adlabene and part of Media but was 
then assassinated, and Artabanus inflicted two defeats on the new 
Emperor Macrmus* The Romans were compelled to save their 
province in Mesopotamia by paying a heavy indemnity and to 
see Tiridates king of Armenia even though, like his namesake of 
the time of Nero, he received his diadem from the Emperor* 

It was a pitiful end to the efforts of the Roman Kmpire to 
reduce the Parthians to vassaldom. Parthia emerged victorious, 
and the recapture of Mesopotamia was a matter of time* Fate 

^ . 56^.5 cf. G. Messina, /,// Crtmaca fit drbcht* La 

Civilt^ cattolica, LXXXIU, 1932, pp. 362 syy* Coins found ait Sclcucci* 
(R. H. McDowell, Coins from Seleucla on the Tigris, p. 234 sy.) show that 
a national reaction replaced Vologases III by Vologascs IV, his success being 
due to the support of Elymais, 

2 For these events we possess only the fragments of Dio i,xxvni> 1 2, 19; 
LXXIX, 257, 31 , It is, however., possible that the replacement of Vologases 
by Artabanus prevented the extradition, and that Tiridates, having; once 
escaped to Parthia, now escaped to Armenia so that the operations of Cara- 
calla were intended to isolate that country* 


decided that it was to be carried out not by the Arsacids but by 
the descendants of Sasan the Persian. A new revolt in Persis led 
by Ardashir put an end to the rule of the Arsacids in the Iranian 
lands and to the life of the last great Arsacid, Artabanus V, 

A.D. 227. 

Closely connected with the Armenian and Caucasian problem 
was the problem of dealing with the various 'Saraiatian' tribes 
which, probably early in the first century A.D., formed a powerful 
kingdom under the rule of the Alani in the Northern Caucasus 
(p. 94), There are many episodes in Parthian history which were 
connected with the existence of this strong nomadic State in the 
eastern part of the steppes of South Russia. Thus Vonones, the 
rival of Artabanus III, tried to escape from his confinement in 
Cilicia to the Caucasus and then to * consanguineum sibi regem 
Scytharum/ probably one of the Sarmatian kings (vol. x, p. 747), 
Then both Orodes 3 son of Artabanus, and Mithridates the Iberian 
used in their struggle for Armenia the help of * Sarmatian 'chiefs 
(voL x, p. 748). Again in A.D, 75 during the rule of Vologases I 
the Alani invaded Media and Armenia. The danger was great, 
and Vologases asked Vespasian for help which, however, was 
refused (p. 143). Finally there was a great invasion in A.D, 134 
which affected Albania, Gordyene, Media and even Cappadocia 
and was checked by the joint efforts of the historian Arrian 1 , the 
governor of Cappadocia, and King Vologases II. The chronicle of 
Arbela gives a dramatic account of the struggle of Vologases and 
the Alani of which the hero is the pious satrap of Adiabene, 
Rakbakt, a convert to Christianity. 

The other frontiers of Parthia were, no doubt, of little less 
importance than those on the west and north-west, but the tradi- 
tion that has survived is almost silent about the wars and diplomatic 
exchanges of the Arsacids with the northern 'Scythians' and 
Massagetae, the Bactrian Kushans and the Indian neighbours of 
Parthia. We hear incidentally that a Phraates fled to the Scythians 
when Tiridates entered Ctesiphon in A.D, 3 6 s . Those Scythians may 
be the Sacae, who at that time became masters of Sacastene (Dran- 
giane) and of a part of the Punjab 3 . Then under Artabanus III, 
after his victory over Vonones and before his clash with Tiberius, 
we are told of Parthian victories against his neighbours 4 . What these 
are we cannot tell. They may be connected with the great events 

1 See his^EtfTafw tear *AXav&v* 2 See vol. x, p. 749, n. i. 

3 E. Hcrzfeld, JrchaeoL Mitt, aus Iran, iv, 1932, p. 73. 

4 fret us he llts quae secunda adversum drcumiectas nation es exercuerat* 

Tacitus, Ann. rr, 31. 


which happened about this time in Sacastenc, the substitution of 
the dynasty of Gundofarr, who may have belonged to the powerful 
Parthian clan of the Suren, for the former Sacian kings who were 
already masters of large parts of the Punjab l . After ( Jundofarr his 
immediate successors,, Orthagnes, Abdagacscs and Pakores, may 
have kept the kingdom intact for some time. It is, however, 
certain that soon (though how soon is in doubt) the kingdom of 
Gundofarr fell to pieces, the Punjab being gradually conquered 
by the Bactrian Kushans while the southern parts of it down to 
Barbarikon and Minnagara on the Indus were ruled by Parthian 
satraps, who were busy fighting each other, until the last remnants 
of Parthian rule were swept away by the Kushans. In the descrip- 
tion of the West as it was between A.rx 25 and 125 which is con- 
tained in the Chinese Annals of the Later Han it 5s stated that the 
Kushan king Kozulokadphiscs, who was the first to create a united 
kingdom out of the principalities of the Yiich-chih in Bactria, 
'invaded Parthia and took hold of the territory of Ksio-fu (Kabul)/ 
The date of this event is disputed, but it must be later than 
the reign of Gundofarr. 

The Kushan kingdom separated Parthia from China. But 
though they had no common frontier, commercial relations be- 
tween the two countries were of such importance to both of them 
that diplomatic interchanges were frequent and regular, Kmbas- 
sies with presents and messages went to and fro, but China learnt 
little from them: at least the description of Parthia (An-hsi) in the 
Annals of the Later Han is short, vague and almost meaningless, 

It is impossible to say how often the peace of the Parthian 
Empire was disturbed by foreign invasions of its eastern borders, 
But it can hardly have been a rare event in the life of Parthia, and 
we may conjecture that the Arsacids had to devote as much atten- 
tion to the East as they did to the West. For example, the conflict 
between Izates, the pious Jewish proselyte of Adiabenc, and 
Vologases I, as told by Josephus 2 can hardly be historical fact. 
The sudden retreat of Vologases after he received the alarming 

1 See Herzfeld, op. cit. pp. 98 sqq. 9 who would make the Parthian clan of 
the SurSnthc enemies of the A tropatcnc dynasty in Parthia and responsible for 
Vonones and Tiridatcs as opponents of Artabanus, To the present writer it 
seems more probable that the creation of Gundofarr's kingdom and the es- 
tablishment of a Parthian dynasty in Sacastene, the Punjab and the Indus 
valley was achieved by Artabanus and Gundofarr in concert. Later in 
Gundofarr's reign his kingdom may have become practically independent 
like Hyrcania and Persis, though it may have remained in name part of the 
Parthian Empire. He took the title Great King of Kings. 

3 Ant. xx [4, 2], 


news of an invasion of the Dahae and Sacae into Parthyene 
savours of a miracle. The hand of God is seen in it. Yet the 
setting of the story must be regarded as probable, so that an in- 
vasion of the northern * Scythians ' was a phenomenon familiar to 
all the readers of Izates' history in the Parthian Empire, 

Of much concern to the Parthian kings were their relations 
with the large nominally vassal kingdoms on the borders of Parthia. 
One of them was Sacastene, another Persis (see above, p. 1 1 1 sy^). 
There is no doubt that wars against such stubborn and powerful 
vassals happened frequently. The same is true of Hyrcania. We 
hear that in A. D. 58 a Hyrcanian king sent an embassy to Corbulo 
and offered his help (vol. x, p. 704). What was the status of 
Hyrcania later we do not know* 

All told, it cannot be denied that the Arsacids were on the whole 
successful in their endeavour to defend the integrity and the inde- 
pendence of their empire. The Sassanians were more successful 
than their predecessors their neighbours were not so strong 
but their general policy was exactly the same as that of the 


The leading feature of the Parthian State in the time of the 
Roman Empire was, as before, the feudal character of its empire 
(see voL ix, pp* 588 sqq^. It continued to include the large, 
nominally vassal, kingdoms of Armenia, Media Atfopatene, 
Hyrcania, Sacastene and Persis, of which Armenia and Media 
were ruled by members of the Arsacid house, the others retaining 
their own dynasties. These kingdoms had in all probability the 
same feudal structure as the other parts of the Parthian Empire 
and that empire itself, and this is borne out by later information 
about Armenia and Persis, Of these major kingdoms two only, 
Persis and Sacastene, struck their own coins. Next in rank came 
the minor kingdoms. We have information about some of them, 
especially Adiabene, Osrhoene, Elymais and Spasinu Charax, 
which last may be the same as the kingdom of Mesene, These 
vassal-kingdoms might differ in rank. Thus Adiabene, whose king 
was granted the rights of a first-class vassal monarch by Arta* 
banus III, of wearing the upright tiara and using the golden couch, 
was degraded to the second class by Vologases I when its king 
received a second-class insignia the diadem, ring and sword of 
State. Adiabene never coined money, while both Mesene and 
Elymais had their own coinage, Strabo and Josephus, drawing 


upon local sources, enable us to form a good idea, for example, 
of the social structure of Adiabene 1 . At the death of a king his 
queen, according to Josephus, summons the megistanes (the heads 
of the powerful clans 2 ), the satraps 3 , and those in charge of the 
armed forces, comprising the middle and lower nobility 4 . 

Not very much different from the vassal-kingdoms were the 
satrapies or provinces of the Parthian Empire which were ruled not 
by kings but by satraps (mar%ban or marzapan\ who were styled in 
the Greek version of their title strategoi^. Each satrapy had one or 
more ruling houses, whose heads were the feudal lords of many 
villages and cities. Such were the Suren, who had large estates 
in Mesopotamia and perhaps became the ruling dynasty of Saca- 
stene (p. 112), the Karen of Media whose lands lay near Nihawand, 
the Gewpathran (or Geopothroi) of Hyrcania and the Mihran of 
Media near Rhagae, who appear also as a ruling house in Iberia 
in the third century A.D. e Naturally enough, since the Parthian 
army consisted of retinues of feudal lords, the Parthian kings 
would appoint the heads of powerful clans to be governors of 
their several countries, thus making the position of a satrap almost 
a hereditary office. In Mesopotamia, for instance, most of the 
governors known to us have names which were probably here- 
ditary in the clan of the Siiren Monaeses, Abdagaeses, Sinnaces, 
Silaces* A Monaeses often appears active in Mesopotamia: it is 
possible that the Suren who defeated Crassus had the name of 
Monaeses, next comes the Monaeses of Antony's time, then an- 
other Monaeses general of Vologases I in A.D. 64 and finally a 
Monaeses at Doura in A.D. 121. Equally frequent are the names 
Silaces and Sinnaces (in 88 B.C., in 53 B.C. and in the time of 
Tiberius and Artabanus) and there is a Sinnaca near Carrhae, 
These names appear, too, in the Acts of the Oriental Apostle 
AddaL To the same category of feudal lords probably belonged 
the Parthian governors and generals with Greek names like Hicro 

3 xvx, 745 sq.-> Ant, xx [2], 17-33. 

2 Usually called ffvyywefc in Greek, vJFspuhr in Iranian, 

3 crrparijyoi and yevedp^ac in Agathangclus i, p, 1 1 2, sect, 6, 

4 Iranian vasurkan and 

5 A document from Doura (of A,X>. 1 21) gives in Greek translation the full 
title of one of these provincial governors: rw ftaTrjcra /cal r^&w crvyyw&v 
ai>]pG>i>(?) r jTap\aira]rov teal crrpar^yov 'Mea-orrorajjLicw /col Ilapairora- 
/j,ia<? /cal 'Apa/Sdpxov, The restorations are by Ensslin and M laker (Phi/, 

T^och : 1933, cols, 268 $q. According to Mlakcr vrapavrtiryq may be a 
transliteration of pahragbsd: 'head of the guard* (c flpKamrn??). 

O. G. von Wescndonk, The Georgian ChronicI* K*ttrt Vw K'fovreta in 
KKo, xxr, 1927, pp. 125 sgy, 


and Demonax of the time of Artabanus III. Beside the higher 
nobility stood in each satrapy the middle and lower nobility 3 who 
served In the army as officers and horsemen. 

Within the satrapies there were many semi-independent units 3 
ethnical or urban. Such were the Arab phylarchs of Mesopo- 
tamia, who sometimes became masters of Greek and Oriental 
cities and assumed the title of kings. The best known are the 
kings of the Macedonian colony of Edessa, the Abgars. Of the 
same type were Sporaces, the phylarch of Anthemusias and ruler 
of the city of Batnae, Mannus the lord of Singara, Manisarus of 
Gordyene and the kings who ruled in Hatra, all of the time of 
Trajan. In the province of Babylonia, beside Mesene and Chara- 
cene 5 there were many petty kingdoms^ for instance that of Hadad- 
nadin-akh 1 at Tello, and those of Nippur and perhaps Forat. The 
same may be said of tyrants in the Greek cities, as Andromachus 
in Carrhae and Apollonius at Zenodotium in 53 B.C. In this 
connection the story of the ephemeral Jewish petty kingdom of 
Babylonia, the robber kingdom of Asinai and Anilai, appears as 
natural and cannot be used as evidence of anarchy marking the 
last years of Artabanus' rule. The formation of a Jewish phylarchy 
in Babylonia does not differ very much from the formation of the 
phylarchy of Edessa or of Hatra. It is very probable that the 
successful brothers were recognized by Artabanus in return for 
a good round sum, and, like Abgar of Edessa in the time of 
Pacorus II, they might have boasted of holding their land by 
right of purchase (x^P a &vyry> P- 1 19)- 

The Greek cities of Macedonian origin which were not trans- 
formed into petty monarchies also formed self-governing units 
within the satrapies (vol. ix, p. 595). Of their life and constitution 
little is known. Of the many cities of this type 2 we have informa- 
tion about Seleuceia on the Tigris 3 , the greatest and the richest of 
them, about Seleuceia on the Eulaeus (Susa) and about Europus 
(Doura). Babylon, Uruk and Nineveh probably belonged to the 
same class* New and important evidence yielded by excavations 
is shedding more and more light on Susa and Doura. It must not 

1 CJ.S. ii, i, 72. 2 See Map 4 in vol. vn. 

3 On its constitution see vol. ix, p. 595. A recently discovered fragmen- 
tary inscription of the time of Antiochus II attests the existence at Seleuceia 
of priests of the dynastic cult, of a hieromnemon y a tamias and an agonothetes* 
It may be assumed that these continued under Parthia. See R. H. McDowell, 
Stamped and inscribed objects from Seleucia on the Tigris, pp. 258 sqq. On 
the vicissitudes of the city under Parthia and the effect of its party-warfare 
on Parthian history see McDowell, Coins from Sehucia on the Tigris* 
pp. *zi6$qq. 


be forgotten that when Parthia became the mistress of the Mace- 
donian cities they were already military settlements with a popu- 
lation of soldiers who had a good military training and warlike 
spirit. All of them had large tracts of land assigned to them, and 
their residents were most of them well-to-do landowners who 5 in 
fighting the enemies of the Seleuclds, were defending their own 
homes and their own privileged position. Under Parthia they 
retained their military and agricultural character. The Mace- 
donian colonists remained masters of their own cities and owners 
of their allotments of land. Neither Seleuccia on the Kulaeus nor 
Europus on the Euphrates had Parthian garrisons, such as those 
that held other fortresses built by Parthia or of Oriental origin 
(e.g. Paliga to the north of Europus and probably the modern 
Amka to the south). The Greek cities were defended by their 
own residents^ usually under Greek commanders. At Doura these 
belonged to the local aristocracy ? where the offices of strategos and 
epistates or strategos genearches (the last probably meaning ethn- 
arches} seem to have belonged to one particular family 1 . Strtitegoi 
and epistatai are also found at Babylon and Nineveh and probably 
at Uruk 2 . Whether they were appointed by the kiiif^ or elected 
by the citizens is unknown; more probably, like the feudal lords 
of other cities, they were nominated by the king. One thing is 
certain, that they were subordinate to the provincial governors, 

Alongside these military presidents there probably existed in 
all the Macedonian cities the regular machinery of a Greek 
city-state, with magistrates, bouk and demos* Hvuleutui arc attested 
at Doura by several inscriptions^ as are also agoranomoi^ chreophy- 
lakes and keryke$ Two recently discovered parchments 3 give a 
very good picture of the composition of the * royal court* (ySacrt- 
\IKQV StKacrr-fj/Hoi/) at Doura with two or three * royal judges/ 
an eisagogeus and a praktor. The judges were probably appointed 
by the king but belonged to the local aristocracy. Many of the 
governors of the cities and the judges bore court titles, and it is 
probable that some of these prominent Macedonians and Greeks 
were occasionally appointed governors of provinces and comman- 
ders of royal armies. The situation at Su$a> the capital of the 

1 Graffiti found in 1935 in the house of the leading family of Doura, the 
Lysiae and Seleuci, confirm the view in the text, which in the main is that of 
J, Johnson, Dura Studies > 1932. Of. M. Hollcaux in B.G.H. LVII, 1933, 
p. 28, no. i. M. Rostovtzeff in J.H.S. LV, 1 935, p. 57. 

2 Babylon, O.G.LS, 2545 Nineveh, R. WV Hutchiraon In drchetel. 
LXXIX, 1929, pp. 140 sqq. 

3 Dnra, Perg. 21 and 40, 


and Demonax of the time of Artabanus III. Beside the higher 
nobility stood in each satrapy the middle and lower nobility, who 
served in the army as officers and horsemen. 

Within the satrapies there were many semi-independent units 3 
ethnical or urban. Such were the Arab phylarchs of Mesopo- 
tamia 3 who sometimes became masters of Greek and Oriental 
cities and assumed the title of kings. The best known are the 
kings of the Macedonian colony of Edessa, the Abgars. Of the 
same type were Sporaces, the phylarch of Anthemusias and ruler 
of the city of Batnae, Mannus the lord of Singara, Manisarus of 
Gordyene and the kings who ruled in Hatra, all of the time of 
Trajan. In the province of Babylonia, beside Mesene and Chara- 
cene 5 there were many petty kingdoms, for instance that of Hadad- 
nadin-akh 1 at Tello, and those of Nippur and perhaps Forat, The 
same may be said of tyrants in the Greek cities, as Andromachus 
in Carrhae and Apollonius at Zenodotium in 53 B.C. In this 
connection the story of the ephemeral Jewish petty kingdom of 
Babylonia, the robber kingdom of Asinai and Anilai, appears as 
natural and cannot be used as evidence of anarchy marking the 
last years of Artabanus* rule. The formation of a Jewish phylarchy 
in Babylonia does not differ very much from the formation of the 
phylarchy of Edessa or of Hatra. It is very probable that the 
successful brothers were recognized by Artabanus in return for 
a good round sum, and, like Abgar of Edessa in the time of 
Pacorus II 5 they might have boasted of holding their land by 
right of purchase (^<wpa a^r??, p. 1 19). 

The Greek cities of Macedonian origin which were not trans- 
formed into petty monarchies also formed self-governing units 
within the satrapies (vol. ix, p. 595)- Of their life and constitution 
little is known. Of the many cities of this type 2 we have informa- 
tion about Seleuceia on the Tigris 3 , the greatest and the richest of 
them, about Seleuceia on the Eulaeus (Susa) and about Europus 
(Doura). Babylon, Uruk and Nineveh probably belonged to the 
same class* New and important evidence yielded by excavations 
is shedding more and more light on Susa and Doura. It must not 

1 G.I.S. it, x, 72. 2 See Map 4 in vol. yn. 

3 On its constitution see vol. ix, p. 595. A recently discovered fragmen- 
tary Inscription of the time of Antiochus II attests the existence at Seleuceia 
of priests of the dynastic cult, of a hieromnemon, a tamias and an agonothetes. 
It may be assumed that these continued under Parthia. See R. H. McDowell, 
Stamped and inscribed objects from Sehucia on the Tigris., pp. 258 sqq. On 
the vicissitudes of the city under Parthia and the effect of its party-warfare 
on Parthian history see McDowell, Coins from Sehucia on the Tigris 


klngs 3 often tried in the first century A.D. to turn the tables by 
setting up a pretender with the help of Rome. ^ In Rome these 
nobles regularly complained of 'atrocities/ as in the reigns of 
Phraates IV, of Artabanus III and of Gotarzes. The background 
of these atrocities was either the struggle of the king with a clan 
or party which opposed him or a struggle for a more centralized 
form of government in general. 

Parallel to this struggle with the nobility went a like struggle 
with the vassal lords of smaller and larger kingdoms. This may be 
reflected in the coinage of the kingdom of Elymais, The coins of 
the hereditary dynasts of the Elymais (Kamnaskires) show 3 in the 
late first century, B.C. and in the first century A.D*, such a deteriora- 
tion of type that it may reasonably be supposed that at this time 
the dynasty had but a shadowy existence 1 . Later, at the end of 
the first century, a new dynasty appears with Parthian royal names 
(Grades, Phraates and perhaps Osroes). It may be suggested that 
in the times of the Parthian kings Grades, Phraates and Artabanus 
the old dynasty of Elymais may have lost its former importance 
and that finally the native kings were replaced by members of the 
Arsacid family* Coins reflect similar phenomena in the dynasty 
which was ruling in Spasinu Charax. After Attambclos III, that 
is, after A.D. 71 2 5 there is a gap in the sequence of Characene 
coins which lasts until too I. About the same time the list of 
Characene kings used by the source of the Macrobioi attributed to 
Lucian gives the name of Artabazus as restored to his throne by 
the Parthians, The name is foreign to the Characene dynasty and 
does not appear on the coins. It may be suggested that Artabazus 
was a Parthian nominee who ruled twice,, each time for a short 
while. Being practically a Parthian governor he did not strike 
coins* He may have been appointed by Vologascs I and restored 
by Pacorus II . After this episode the old dynasty was restored* 
probably for a very short time. It gave place later to a new dynasty 
with new Semitic names which used Aramaic exclusively on their 
coins. The relation in which this dynasty stood to the later Arsa- 
cids is not known. 

Slight as is our knowledge of the. history of the other lesser 
kingdoms, there are indications that intervention by Parthia or by 
Rome was not rare, In the time of Vologases I a conflict arose 
between Adiabene and Parthia which apparently led to a war, and 
in a later reign, probably that of Vologases II, Adiabene became 

1 A like phenomenon may be observed in the coins of Persia. Some 
scholars assume that there was a gap in this coinage coinciding with the 
reigns of Orodes and Phraates IV. 


a satrapy Instead of a kingdom. So at the time of Trajan the king 
of Edessa held his kingdom from Pacorus II by right of purchase 
(p. 1 1 5), whereas it seems to have been ruled before by the kings 
of Adiabene. He went over to the Romans and probably lost his 
life In the revolt of 1 16. Hadrian placed on the throne Partha- 
maspates, ruler of Osrhoene, whom Trajan had sought to make 
king of Parthia. In 1 2 3 the former dynasty of Edessa was restored 
under Parthian overlordship only to become vassal to Rome after 
the expedition of L. Verus. It retained this status until Edessa 
was made a Roman provincial city by Caracalla 1 . 

We may finally observe attempts to control parts of the king- 
dom which became too strong and too Independent in the relations 
between the Arsacids and the more considerable Greek cities of 
their kingdom. Seleuceia on the Tigris may serve as the best 
example. We hear that the city was strong enough to challenge 
the kings, and Indeed rebellions of Seleuceia against the Arsacids 
were probably not uncommon. We may connect with them the 
autonomous coinage of the city in 88 B.C. and again in A.D. 141 5, 
the last perhaps connected with the reform of. Seleuceia's con- 
stitution by Artabanus III, whereby power was given to a group 
of citizens which formed the boule. This encroachment on the 
democratic constitution of the city may have led to the recognition 
of the pretender Tiridates in the closing years of Artabanus and 
to the revolt against Artabanus which was put down after a long 
siege by Vardanes in A.D. 423. The vicissitudes of this struggle 
are reflected in the autonomous coins of the city in 3940 and 412 
and the city coins with the portrait of Vardanes and the figure of 
the boule. 

The forces of this feudal empire continued to consist mainly of 
the private armies of the satraps and ,of the vassal kings, but the 
nucleus of the army was certainly the king's own troops, and a 
strong body of guards, largely foreigners, were always at hand in 
the palace. There were, besides, the garrisons of the Greek cities, 
though we never hear that Greeks were mobilized to form a field 
army. Sometimes in case of need the army was reinforced by 
mercenary units, The Parthian army was an array of horsemen 
heavy clibanarii and cataphracts and light sagittarii recruited mostly 
from the lesser nobility of small landowners. They often used the 
lasso as well as the bow, spear and sword. None the less, the 
Parthian kings were not blind to the occasional need of infantry. 

1 Important evidence for the constitution and civilization of Edessa in the 
third century is provided by a parchment found at Doura but written at, Edessa 5 
A, R, Bellinger and C, B, Welles in Yak Class. Stud, v, 1935, pp. 95 sqy. 


At times they called tip their vassals from the mountains and 
formed strong armies of foot-soldiers. Thus according to the 
chronicle of Arbela an arni)r of 20,000 foot was concentrated at 
Ctesiphon when the Alani invaded Parthia In A.D. 134, Anew 
form of cavalry, perhaps borrowed from the Roman dromedarii^ 
was the corps of cataphracts mounted on camels which was used 
by Artabanus V against Caracalla. Finally the introduction of new 
devices and especially of engines of war into the Parthian army 
is plausibly ascribed by Herodian to former Roman soldiers who, 
as captives or deserters, were incorporated in one capacity or 
another into the Parthian army. In addition, the Macedonian 
colonists of the Parthian cities had inherited a good training in the 
arts of war 1 . The Arsacids were not wild nomads in their warfare, 
and if they kept to their army of horse it was because it was a strong 
weapon well adapted to the needs of the Empire. 


Of the economic and social life of the Parthian Empire we know 
very little. It doubtless varied from kingdom to kingdom, from 
satrapy to satrapy, from city to city. The most prominent feature 
is again the feudal structure of both social and economic life with 
the great feudatories leading, with the minor feudal lords holding 
cities and villages, with small free landowners cultivating their 
holdings and with bondmen working for both large and small 
landowners. Some estates were owned, according to Ammianus 
Marcellinus, by the Magi* The conditions of Mesopotamia may 
serve as an example. Isidore of Charax enumerates along the 
Euphrates a number of stations on the great commercial and 
military road. We find here a curious mixture of settlements; 
Macedonian colonies of which the best known is Doura-Ruropus, 
villages surrounding or adjacent to Parthian fortresses like Paiiga, 
temples with their territories and their hereditary priests, smaller 
and larger villages. The documents found at Doura show that there 
were many villages in the territory of this city. The nucleus of the 
Greek cities was formed by the Macedonian colonists, well-to-do 
landowners, holders of their ancient kleroi which were hereditary 
in their families. Side by side with them may have lived Parthian 
dignitaries possessing larger or smaller estates and rich Semitic 
families engaged in trade and industry, owners of shops in the 

1 The Sassanians took over these methods from the Parthians, *,# the art 
of taking cities by sapping and mining. For the details of the capture of 
Doura in A.D. 256 see Dura, Rep. vi (Du Mesnil du Buisson)* 

Ill, v] ECONOMIC LIFE 121 

souks of the city and owners or leaseholders of parcels of cultivated 
land. Finally, there were many small landowners and tenants, and 
a number of slaves. Their relations to each other were regulated 
by laws which In Mesopotamia are Greek in character, perhaps 
with an admixture of Babylonian elements. No general regula- 
tions by the central power are noticeable in the few business 
documents which we possess, most of them from Doura and 
Babylonia. In Doura most of them are written in good Greek but 
the recent excavations have yielded also documents in Syriac (from 
Edessa), Palmyrene and Pahlavi (vol. ix, p. 589). In Babylonia the 
cuneiform script still obtains on the clay tablets as long as they 
last, while the parchment documents were probably written In 
Aramaic, the lingua franca of the time. In Atropatene both Greek 
and Pahlavi were used. The general Impression is that the central 
government did not interfere with local economic, social and legal 
life. Whether as in the times of the Seleucids there existed taxes 
which were imposed and levied by the central government we do 
not know. We are equally ignorant how large were the payments 
of the various parts of the kingdom to the treasury of the central 
government, or how they were organized. It seems in one instance 
that the Arsacids were Inclined to sell the right of collecting the 
taxes to the ruler of a given country or satrapy 1 . It is unfortunate 
that we are so poorly informed on one of the most important 
sources of revenue of the Arsacids, the customs duties levied from 
the caravans. Here again the most probable hypothesis is that the 
kings used their vassals to collect these dues and included them 
in the general tribute of the kingdoms, satrapies and cities. 

The wealth of the Arsacids and of the richest vassal-kingdoms 
and cities of the Parthian Empire depended largely on the flourish- 
ing caravan trade between Parthia and China and India on one 
hand and Parthia and the Roman Empire on the other (pp. 122 
sqq.} It is well known how important was the foreign commerce 
of the Roman Empire and how much attention was paid by the 
Chinese emperors of the Han dynasty to the development of their 
foreign trade with the North and the West. The excavations at Lou- 
Ian in Chinese Turkestan and the Chinese historical records 2 give 
us an excellent picture of it. Both the Chinese and the Romans 
were eager to enter into direct relations with each other. But the 
Parthian kings and probably the Kushans and the Sogdians were 
too much interested in keeping the trade in their own hands to 

1 This is apparently the meaning of Arrian's statement (Parth* frag. 45 R.) 
that Pacorus II sold Osrhogne to its king. 

2 dnnals of the Later Han, 98, cf. jtnnals of the Former Han> 96. 


allow Roman merchants and ambassadors to penetrate into China, 
On the contrary they tried hard to prevent any direct relations 
between the two countries. There are bitter complaints of them 
in the Chinese writers. And yet information about the great trade 
route and the two Empires of the West and of the East penetrated 
into the two countries through Parthian channels. Though the 
merchants of Palmyra never penetrated farther than the lowlands 
of Babylonia enterprising traders, probably Parthian subjects, 
tried to establish direct relations between China and Babylonia and 
perhaps between China and the Roman Empire, One of these 
was Maes Titianus, a Macedonian, who sent an expedition to 
China and gave the geographical material which this expedition 
collected to Marinus'of Tyre, the main source of Ptolemy. Maes 
was certainly not from Palmyra, where no Macedonians are known. 
It is hard to believe that he was a Roman subject, for if he were, 
the Parthlans would certainly have prevented him, as they pre- 
vented others, from penetrating into China. It is, therefore, prob- 
able that he belonged to one of the Macedonian colonies of the 
Parthian Empire, a rich merchant who had commercial relations 
both with China and the Roman Empire, The Chinese counter* 
part and contemporary of Maes was the agent of the general 
Pan-Ch'ao, Kan Ying by name, who according to the Annals of 
the Later Han penetrated as far as Spasinu Charax in his attempt 
to reach Ta-ch'in (the Syrian provinces of the Roman Empire and 
South Arabia 1 ) and thus to establish direct relations between China 
and the 'Par West/ The Parthians frightened him by describing 
the horrors of a long sea voyage around Arabia. It was only by 
sea that the Romans were able to come into direct contact with 
China* Sporadic attempts are attested for A.D. 120 and then for 
A,D. 1 66 when an * embassy * of Marcus Aurelius is recorded to 
have visited China, 

The great land trade-routes which ran through Parthia con- 
necting China and India with the West were certainly one of the 
chief concerns of the Arsacids. How successful they were in their 
control of them is shown by the fact that the Asiatic caravan roads 
described by Isidore of Charax and Ptolemy, which ended in Baby- 
lonia and from there ran up the Tigris and the Euphrates to the 
confines of the Roman Empire, were by far the most important 
arteries of commerce at that time, much more important than the 
Caspian route across the Caucasus or the steppe route to the north 

1 For the meaning of IVch'in and Fu-lin in the Chinese sources see 
H. H. Schaeder, Iranica in Gott. j$bh< in, io f 1934, pp. 24 $qq* csp, p* 25 

n. I. 

Ill, v] FOREIGN TRADE 123 

of the Caspian through the AorsI (Alani). The Parthian roads 
rivalled the maritime route from India and Arabia to Spasinu 
Charax and Forat in supplying the Roman Empire with a large 
portion of its imports from China and India, Even with Egypt 
Parthia maintained lively trade connections, as may be seen from 
the relations between Palmyra and Egypt and the information 
which we have on Scythianus and Terebinthus, the forerunners of 
Mani in Egypt 3 and on the rapid spread of Manichaeism in Egypt 1 . 

To the caravan trade of Parthia three great cities, namely, 
Vologasia in Babylonia, Hatrain Mesopotamia and Palmyra in the 
Syrian desert owed their existence^ while many other towns, among 
them Seleuceia, Babylon, Forat and lesser cities on the Tigris or 
Euphrates, such as Doura, not to mention Singara, Nisi bis and 
Edessa, owed to it much of their prosperity. It is probable that 
the Arsacids viewed the advance of Seleuceia with an unfriendly 
eye and sought to direct the trade from Palmyra to Vologasia 
and Spasinu Charax 2 . Here, and at Babylon before Vologasia 
was founded, were the most important settlements of Palmyrene 
merchants. The founding of Vologasia and the almost contempor- 
ary creation of Ctesiphon as the royal residence and military centre 
of he Parthian Empire combined to undermine the prestige 
of Seleuceia, 

What slight knowledge we possess of the organization of Par- 
thian trade is mainly derived from Chinese sources. The traveller 
Chang Ch'ien declares that 'their market folk and merchants 
travel in carts and boats 3 to the neighbouring countries perhaps 
several thousand li distant/ and this is repeated in the Annah of 
the Former Han. These Annals stress the fact that such countries 
as Chi-pin ( ? Sacastene), K'ang-chu (Sogdiana) and Ta-wan (Fer- 
ghana) strove to keep on good terms with China chiefly because of 
their trade. To all these alike, including the Parthians, may be 
applied what is said of the people of Ta-wan, that 'they are clever 
traders and dispute about the division of a farthing/ The dis- 
coveries at Lou-Ian, the military post and caravan station of China 
in Chinese Turkestan, and at Palmyra, the queen of the Syrian 
desert (p. 631), may be adduced to show how the wise Chinese 

1 C. Schmidt and H. J. Polotsky, Bin Mani-Fund in Jegypten. Site. d. 
BerL Akad. 1933, 12; cf. E* Peterson in By*. Zeitschr. xxxiv, 1934, p. 380* 

2 It is significant that in the many texts that speak of Palmyrene trade 
Seleuceia is probably mentioned only once and that for a very early date. 

3 The mention of carts, as in Palmyra, suggests the care taken or the great 
roads, while the boats may reflect not only maritime relations with Arabia 
and India but also the use of the great rivers, especially the Oxus. 


in the East and the shrewd Semites in the West handed on their 
wares to Sogdlan, Bactrian and Parthian traders, who carried on 

this commerce by the same methods as those from whom they 
thus received it, 


The official religion of the Parthian royal house was Mazdaism, 
at least since the reign of Vologases I, who made a new edition of 
the Avesta and had it provided with a running commentary in 
Pahlavi 1 . Herein he was true to the great Iranian traditions of 
Atropatene, the home of his dynasty., and his brother Tiridates 
made clear his adhesion to Mazdaean tenets (vol. x> pp. 550, 772). 
In the Iranian Epos both Vologases (Vistaspa) and Ti delates 
(Spaniyad) appear as champions of the new religion against pagan- 
ism. In all this we may perhaps detect a deliberate reaction against 
the syncretistic and Hellenistic tendencies of their predecessors, 
especially Phraates IV and Phraataces and the pretenders suppor- 
ted by Rome. On Parthian coins the titles Theopater and T/ieos 
disappear, while that of Epiphanes y which does not make so explicit 
a claim to divinity, persists* Indeed the title Theos^ first used by 
Phraates III, was revived but once in this period and that for 
IVtusa^ the mother of Phraataces 2 * The Greek poems found at Susa 
go farther in stressing the divine nature of Phmates TV than would 
have been acceptable to a good Zoroastrian even from his (3 reek 
subjects. The Parthian kings 5 it is true, never abandoned such 
elements of the official worship of the king as they inherited from 
the Achaemenids, but it appears not improbable that the last 
Arsacids of the old line had pressed this tendency too far, and 
that the dynasty from Atropatene marks a reaction to the older 
tradition. At the same time, the kings and probably the Magi, 
of whose organization in this period hardly anything is known, 
did not fail in reverence to their ancestral gods, whom they may 
have regarded as emanations of the great Ahura-Mazda. Chief 
among these was the Sun and Moon, and it is to be noted that 
coins of Persis, where the kings were notably orthodox Maz- 
daeans, show the symbol of the crescent moon on the royal tiara 3 , 
as did the coins of the Sacastene kings and their successors the 
Kushans (voL DC, pp* 593 * 

1 The Dinkart, iv, 24, The statement that these books with their com- 
mentaries existed by the second century AJX is borne oitt by the fact that 
Mani, the contemporary of Artabanus V, is well acquainted with them. 

2 See Volume of Plates iv, 2OO d* ^ Ib. 8 # //. 

Ill, vi] RELIGION 125 

The religious beliefs of the masses of the people throughout 
the Parthian Empire are quite another matter. But evidence is 
lacking to decide how large a part of the Iranian population were 
Mazdaeans or what kind of Mazdaism, if any, was offered to them 
by the numerous and powerful Magi, the clergy of the Empire. 
Nor is it easy to tell how far Mazdaean and Iranian religion in 
general influenced the cults and faith of the non-Iranian subjects 
of Parthia. But one thing is certain, the Arsacids were no fanatics 
and did not seek to impose their own religion on their subjects. 
In Assyria, for instance, local cults persisted, and new temples 
were built to the ancient gods. The same is true of Doura, where 
even the Seleucid dynastic cults continued under Parthian rule 1 , 
and of Susa. What we find in these Greek cities is not the intro- 
duction of Iranian cults and the building of fire-temples, but 
the supplementing of Greek cults by Semitic even among the 
inhabitants who still spoke Greek and had Greek names. 

How far Iranian doctrine and practice affected the various 
Semitic religions is also a question. At Doura, for instance, where 
all the temples found are dedicated to gods with Semitic names, it 
is probable that a slight Iranian influence was perceptible, which 
through a kind of syncretism made it possible for Iranians to take 
part in the worship of Semitic gods. The Babylonian Bel and his 
acolytes, the gods of the Sun and the Moon, may well have been 
in one way or another identified with Ahura-Mazda and the corre- 
sponding Iranian gods of the pre-Zoroastrian Pantheon, one of 
whom, was Mithra. The tolerance of the Parthian kings extended 
beyond the ancient worships of the Empire to proselytizing 
foreign religions, especially Judaism and Christianity. In Adia- 
bene, if we may trust the Jewish tradition, they did not demur 
when the ruling dynasty embraced Judaism, and any persecution 
of the Christians in the same vassal-state was the work of the local 
Magi and not of the central government or its representatives. 

Little is known of the intellectual life of the Parthian Empire. 
The citizens of the Greek cities kept intact their native language 
and probably gave to their children a Greek education or at least 
an education in Greek. Many citizens of Seleuceia on the Eulaeus 
(Susa) must have been fond of Greek poetry, to judge from the 
four poems that have been discovered there, and no doubt they 
studied the classical poets of Greece in order to be able themselves 
to compose. The excellent style of King Artabanus' letter to the 
magistrates of that city (p. 117 n. i) shows that the Greek secre- 
taries of the Parthian kings, who were probably of Mesopotamian 
1 See M. Rostovtzeff, C. R. Ac. Inscr. 1935, pp. 300 sqq. 


origin s were well trained in schools which kept alive the Seleucid 
traditions of Greek rhetoric. A like familiarity with the Greek 
language and the same degree of education are shown by the much 
more modest scribes of Doura, who are found writing a correct 
Greek style as late as the second century A.D. The same is true 
for Media Atropatene, Literary and stylistic interests seem to have 
been keener in Babylonia than in upper Mesopotamia. No metri- 
cal inscriptions in Greek comparable to those of Susa have been 
found at Doura, and most of the non-official inscriptions show 
that the population at large in this unlike the professional scribes 
spoke a highly debased and semitized form of Greek. 

The Greeks of the Parthian Empire did not lose their interest 
in learning. Apollodorus of Artemita, the late Hellenistic his- 
torian of Parthia,, had successors of his own type, men who were 
born in Parthia but wrote for the educated people of the Graeco- 
Roman world. Such was Dionysius of Charax, the geographer, 
author of a description of the world, who wrote for Augustus 
a monograph on Parthia and Arabia (vol. x, p. 253). Such was 
another writer used by the elder Pliny, Isidore of Charax, whose date 
and identity are uncertain. We still possess his Parthian Stations, 
in which he describes the great military and caravan route down 
the Euphrates and across Parthia to India. It is a work doubtless 
based on Parthian official Itineraries, and we have quotations from 
his other writings in PIiny ? Athenaeus and the author of the 
Macrobioi (p. 1 18). The last quotation shows that he gave lists of 
kings of Parthia, Persis, Elymais, Spasinu Charax and the Yemen, 
The list of kings of Charax which goes down to a time which 
coincides with the gap in our numismatic evidence between AJX 
71/2 and i oo/ 1 may be taken as evidence that Isidore was a 
contemporary of Pliny and not to be identified with Dionysius of 
Charax. Finally a similar work may have been used by Josephus, 
perhaps a Parthica written by a hellenized Jew of Mesopotamia 
in which special attention was paid to the destinies of the Jews 
and of the kings of Adiabene who were converts to Judaism* To 
the^same class of Mesopotamian educated Greeks belonged Maes 
Titianus and his agents (p. 122), 

Greek education and Greek learning certainly affected some of 
the natives, both Iranians and non-Iranians, The most splendid 
example is the great teacher Mani, who certainly had a good 
Greek philosophical training. But we are not entitled to ascribe 
exclusively to Greek influence the literary activity of those sub- 
jects of the Parthian kings who never received a Greek education* 
Thus it is improbable that the acquaintance with Parthian history 

Ill; vi] LITERATURE 127 

of Abel the Teacher, the source of MesiM-zekha, who wrote about 
A.D. 550 a local ecclesiastical chronicle of Arbela, was derived 
from Greek works. It probably goes back to a Parthian chronicle 
or annals which embodied the official tradition of Parthian history. 
It may be assumed that similar chronicles existed in most of the 
vassal-kingdoms and formed with the Parthian annals the his- 
torical substructure of such works as the life of Addai, the apostle 
of Adiabene and Osrhoene, and the lists of Arsacid kings which are 
found in Dionysius of Tellmahre for Osrhoene and in Mar Abas 
and Moses of Choarene for Armenia, as well as those cited in the 
Macrobioi. It was probably not Greeks who kept the itineraries of 
the Parthian kingdom, which were used by Isidore and the agents 
of Maes Titianus. All these semi-official, semi-literary records 
perished when the Sassanians replaced the Arsacids, and yet their 
memory survived for the West in the works of Western his- 
torians, for the East in the epic poetry, whose most glorious heroes 
are reflections of the Arsacids and of their vassals. 

More or less the same conditions prevailed with Parthian art. 
As in the field of religion we must clearly distinguish between the 
imperial art of the court and the Iranian art of the Arsacid period 
in general on the one hand and the art of the various non-Iranian 
kingdoms and satrapies of Parthia on the other. Both the Iranian, 
and what may be called the provincial, art of the Parthian 
Empire are very little known and studied, but an analysis of 
the extant monuments shows that the common view of Parthian 
art as a degeneration of Greek art is mistaken. A peculiar and 
original Iranian art, which included a flourishing imperial art, 
did exist and shows but very few Greek elements. This Iranian 
art exercised a strong influence both on the art of the non-Iranian 
parts of the empire and on that of its eastern neighbours, es- 
pecially China. What we know of the provincial art of Parthia 
and its Iranian features is derived from the many objects found 
in North India and in Mesopotamia, especially in Babylonia, at 
Susa, at Hatra 1 , at Assur and at Doura, 

The greatest contribution that the Parthian Empire made to 
art was in the field of architecture. The excavations of the Parthian 
city of Assur and the study of the Parthian monuments there 
and at Hatra prove that the so-called 7m;^;z-palace with its 
peculiar plan and stucco decoration which is so typical for the 
Sassanian period is of Parthian origin. All the essential parts of 
the palace and all the peculiar features of its decoration are bril- 
liantly exemplified in both cities, and they certainly had a deep 
1 See Volume of Plates iv, 20. 


influence on Mesopotamia!! architecture of the same period as we 
find it In Babylon and at Doura. How far back we can trace the 
development of the /*?e?#-palace In the pre-Parthian period it Is 
difficult to say. The same is true of another peculiar form of Ira- 
nian architecture the fire-temple. It is certain that the Sassanian 
fire-temples repeat the plan and the system of decoration of earlier 
temples of the same type. 

It is beyond doubt that both sculpture and painting flourished 
in Iranian lands in the Parthian period* Very few monuments are 
extant, but they suffice to show that both religious and secular 
sculpture and painting were cultivated in the Parthian Empire by 
Iranian artists 1 . In the field of religious art may be adduced the 
religious paintings and sculptures of Doura and the religious 
sculptures of Palmyra, especially the recently discovered painted 
bas-reliefs of the temple of Bel 2 * They cannot be derived from 
either Greek or Assyrian art alone. Indeed, their style and compo- 
sition show striking resemblances with those of scattered religious 
sculptures of the Parthian period in Iranian lands and of the im- 
pressive religious sculptures of Nimrud Dagh of half- Iranian 
Commagene in the first century B.C., both of which show many 
purely Achaemenid features 3 . It may, therefore, be suggested 
that the religious paintings and sculptures of Doura and Palmyra 
are to be regarded as products of late Iranian art which flourished 
in both Iranian and Syro-Anatolian regions in Hellenistic times 
and was ultimately a direct continuation of the late Greece-Persian 
art of the fifth, fourth and third centuries B.C. 4 

The same is true of secular art* The portraits of the kings on 
the Parthian coins have always been regarded as products of 

fenuine Greek art* Yet the style of these portraits is Gracco- 
ranian rather than Greek, as is proved by a comparison with 
products of Graeco-Iranian toreutics in South Russia and with 
the Graeco-Iranian sculptures of Nimrud Dagh* A glance at the 
contemporary coins of the Hellenistic kings will suffice to show 

1 A close study of the paintings of the Synagogue at Doura will probably 
show that at least one part of them was painted by Iranian artists. Some of 
these are mentioned in Pahlavi dipinti of the Elijah and Esther scenes, 
See M. Rostovtzeff in R$m. Qyart&lschriftt xur, 1934, p. 2*3 and Dura* 
Rep. vi (A. Pagliaro), Manichacism, a genuine Parthian movement, was 
fond of pictures. See Andreas-Hcnning in Site. d+ EerL Akad, 1933* 
pp. 301 sqq.i Schaeder, op, cit* pp. 71 syq. 

2 See Volume of Plates v, 26, a, b. 3 lb. iy, 30 //, b, 

4 ^Cf. for Asia Minor the Phrygian and Lycian sculptures and Gracco* 
Persian gems, for North Syria and Phoenicia the columns and sarcophagi of 
Sidon and Cyprus. 

Ill, vi] ART 129 

how deep Is the difference between them, and the coins of the 
Parthian dynasty. Far more Iranian are secular sculptures and 
paintings, most of which illustrate episodes in the heroic epos of 
Iran. The bas-relief of Bihistun which represents the duel between 
Gotarzes and Meherdates was certainly not the first of its kind 
and shows no connection with Greek art 1 . The same type of com- 
position is found in South Russia in graves of the early Roman 
period in painting and in many graffiti and dipinti on the walls of 
temples and private houses in Doura 2 . The same is true of another 
favourite motive of epic art in general the hunting-scene 
which recurs in this Iranian treatment at Doura, on bas-reliefs of 
the Iranian border lands and in South Russia 3 , They must derive, 
like the compositions of religious art, from late Achaemenid art, 
for the same types of composition and the same style are found on 
the Graeco-Persian gems. Finally a third favourite motif of epic 
art the banquet scene is often found on monuments of the 
Parthian period, in the bone-carvings of Olbia, the silver cups of 
Sacastene, the paintings and sculptures of Palmyra, Babylonia and 
Doura. This, too, goes back to the art of the Achaemenid period. 

It is not the composition only that is characteristic for the 
Iranian art of the Parthian period. The monuments mentioned 
above show stylistic peculiarities which set them in a class apart. 
Some of these are typical of Oriental art in general ; others, however, 
are peculiar to the Parthian period. One of these last is the flying 
gallop, another the strict frontality of the human figures, next 
come the elongated proportions of the bodies, a peculiar schematic 
treatment of the folds of their dress, a far-reaching neglect of 
the study of the human body and a growing linearity in its repre- 
sentation. Some minor peculiarities like special treatment of eyes, 
hair, beards and moustaches are equally typical of Parthian art. 
But its most striking peculiarity is the way in which intense 
spiritual rather than intellectual life is reflected especially in the 
eyes. Of this the figures of the priests of the well-known Conon 
fresco at Doura 4 give a fine example, but the same trait is found in 
almost all the religious sculptures and paintings and in the por- 
traits of this period both in the Iranian and the non-Iranian parts 
of the Parthian Empire. 

Finally, though the minor arts of the Parthian period are little 
studied, here also Parthia created many new forms and devices. 

1 See Volume of Plates v, 28, a. 2 Ib. iv, 26. 

3 Ib. v, 24, a. Hunting scenes appear with the same treatment and 
peculiarities (the flying gallop) in China of the Han period. 

4 See Volume of Plates v, 28, b. 

C*A.H. xi 9 


The silver plate of this period presents new and peculiar features 
both in style and composition. A new type of plant-ornament 
takes hold of it, and figure compositions which show at the begin- 
ning strong Greek influences become gradually more and more 
iranized and use all the motives of the great secular art of Parthia: 
battles and hunting-scenes and banquets. A set of Sacian silver 
cups is especially rich and typical in its development 1 . The same 
is true of the jewels of the Parthian period,, especially of those of 
heavy silver inset with coloured stones which characterize both 
Palmyrene and Gandhara sculpture (both men and women are 
represented wearing them) and of which two sets were found in 
Doura 2 and some examples at Taxila. They all go back to Greek 
originals but show a development and tendencies of their own 
which lead gradually to the creation of new types, such as large 
and massive round and trapezoidal fibulae, characteristic chains 
with medallions, amulets and the like. One of the most striking 
features of this jewelry is its fondness for polychromy, which seems 
to be an ancient peculiarity of Iranian jewelry and may have been 
borrowed from Iran by Syria, where it flourished in the late Hellen- 
istic and the Roman period. Finally, the Mesopotamia*! countries 
use a special type of glazed pottery different both from the con- 
temporary Egyptian and Hellenistic glazed pottery and from the 
similar ware of China* Both the forms and ornaments of the pots 
and the type of the glaze show that Mesopotamia!! pottery forms 
a class in itself which attained such a rich development later in 
the Sassanian and Arab periods 3 . It is worthy of note that glaze 
was used in the Parthian times not only for vases but also for various 
types of coffins. In conclusion it may be said that most of the 
types .of composition and, in great measure, the style of Parthian 
art were inherited, and developed by the artists of the Sassanian 
period. Sassanian art thus appears, not as a sudden renascence of 
what was Achaemenid, but as a natural continuation of the Iranian 
art of the Parthian period, 

1 See Volume of Plates v ? 30, a. lb* 30, b. a //A 32* 



\TOBIS in arto et inglorius labor 1 . In comparison with the 
-* V Republic, the history of the Empire is dull. Augustus meant 
that it should be: his aim was to substitute the routine of adminis- 
tration for the ruinous vicissitudes of domestic politics and foreign 
wars. Like Augustus, Vespasian made peace and order his watch- 
word. But even now, enduring stability demanded further con- 
quests : moreover the time had come to apply the lessons which 
the experience of the intervening years had gradually formulated, 
The chief pre-occupation of the legions had hitherto been the 
control of the interior rather than the defence of the frontiers 
indeed, of frontiers with their connotation of visible demarcation 
or organized defence it is perhaps too early to speak. What had 
once been a field army was becoming a garrison army. The age 
of Augustus had been familiar with groups of large field armies, 
sometimes comprising as many as five legions each: and pairs of 
legions were not infrequently brigaded together in single camps, 
As time goes on, the provincial armies tend to increase in number 
but diminish in size, while the legion slowly changes in character 
and function. With the legion become more sedentary, the 
practice develops of sending away for service in other provinces 
not whole legions as in the time of Augustus, but legionary detach- 
ments (vexillationes). This becomes a normal institution and heralds 
the establishment of field armies distinct from frontier troops. The 
legions of Augustus had been mobile units, their stations little 
better than marching-camps. Though the ramparts of earth 
become more massive and are reinforced with wooden beams, the 
defences of such a camp were not formidable either by nature or 
by art. The legions had commonly been established at positions that 
were strategically strong but tactically weak it had not been 
expected that the camp of Vetera would ever be attacked 2 * The 
Flavian period witnessed extensive rebuildings in stone, but the 
process was neither contemporary nor uniform. From an early 
date the armies differed widely from province to province in 
composition, character and habits. 

1 Tacitus, Ann. iv, 32. 2 Tacitus, Hist, iv, 23. 



The auxiliary troops underwent an evolution more rapid and 
more complete. In the time of Augustus the operations of the 
army in the field had been seconded by * tumultuary levies' of 
native warriors. Permanent auxiliary units certainly existed., above 
all of cavalry, as was to be expected : but in the course of the next 
fifty years the total of foot regiments was enormously increased as 
more and more native levies were converted into regular regiments 
and were dispatched to serve in countries other than those of their 
origin. In this way they acquired a definite status with definite 
terms of pay and service, 

As active campaigning lapsed and a system of frontier defence 
evolved,, the character and functions of the auxiKa changed yet 
further. When these regiments occupied permanent forts strung 
out along a frontier which it was their duty to patrol and defend, 
it became necessary to create other light formations for the pur- 
poses of scouting and warfare. The numeri organized by Hadrian 
answered this function: and the irregular Moorish cavalry of 
Lusius Quietus and bands of Astures symmachiarii had already 
fought in the Dacian Wars of Trajan 1 * The auxiliary regiments 
had originally, like the legions^ been stationed in encampments 
of earth, which, sooner or later, arc replaced by forts of stone. The 
development was more rapid on the Rhine than on the Danube or 
in Britain for the British army was one of the last to lose its 
mobile character. 

Vespasian was the first ruler with military experience since 
Tiberius. His natural sagacity fortified him against the doctrinaire 
without weakening his preference for hard facts and clear outlines, 
Moreover, Vespasian had sons to succeed him : and though much 
that happened was due to chance or circumstances, there is some 
warrant for speaking of a Flavian policy in domestic and in foreign 
affairs, sober, practical, uninspired. 

Vespasian's earliest task was the re-organization of the army 
and the restoration of discipline. The virtues of the soldiery had 
proved more deadly than their vices. The loyalty of the legions, 
divorced from a careless emperor and estranged by neglect, might 
attach itself with a devotion all the more intense to their com- 
manders and their comrades. The fall of Nero was followed by a 
ruinous competition in which the German, Danubian and Eastern 
armies participated. Worse than this, Roman legions had been 
induced to take the oath of allegiance to the * Imperium Galliarum * 2 : 

1 For Astures symmachmrii, cf. Ann. pig 1026, no- 88. The Mauri 
gentiles of Lusius Quietus (S,H,A. Hadr. 5, 8) arc represented on the 
Column of Trajan. 2 See vol. x f p. 846. 


but these were the shattered remnants of an army, weakened not 
only by defeat but by an infusion of local levies, without leaders 
and without hope in the universal confusion and apparent collapse 
of the Empire. With the restoration of authority, they were able 
as well as willing to repent. Legions which had disgraced their 
eagles and their honour had signed their own death-warrant: they 
were disbanded or fused with other legions the result was the 
same, since in each case the soldiers appear to have been retained 
in service. This fate overtook four, or probably five, of the legions 
of the old Rhine army: I, IV Macedonica, XV Primigenia, XVI 
Gallica all disappear, while there is no certain trace of the survival 
of V Alaudae (see below, p. 171). Two of the legions, however, 
which as units had not been involved in the ignominy of their 
fellows, namely XXI Rapax and XXII Primigenia, were preserved 
and were stationed on the Rhine again, in Lower instead of in 
Upper Germany. 

The abolition of four or five legions did not mean any reduction 
in the permanent legionary strength, which Nero had increased to 
twenty-eight by his creation of I Italica. This number was main- 
tained by Vespasian, for he had at his disposal three formations of 
the Civil Wars, I Adiutrix, II Adiutrix, both recruited from the 
marines, and the legion (VII Gemina) which Galba had raised in 
Spain; and to these he added two new legions bearing his own 
family name, IV Flavia felix and XVI Flavia firma. More legions 
could hardly have been provided. In the first place there was the 
cost in money: Vespasian on his accession was confronted by 
an empty treasury, and though the financial situation improved 
enough for Domitian to increase the pay of the troops, that 
measure in itself constituted a permanent charge 1 . More serious, 
perhaps, than the financial difficulty was the scarcity of suitable 
recruits, hitherto a constant embarrassment. 

Against these difficulties there were various imperfect remedies 
that might be invoked singly or together. When Augustus first 
regulated the conditions of military service and pay he fixed the 
term of years at sixteen : this he was subsequently compelled to 
raise to twenty, and by the time of the Antonines the period is one 
of twenty-five years. The introduction of this change is commonly 
attributed to Hadrian, but, like so many innovations, it may have 

1 After his war against the Chatti in 83 Domitian raised the pay by a 
third, from 225 to 300 denarii (Suetonius, Dom, 75 Dio LXVII, 3, 5). Later 
in his reign Domitian is alleged to have sought to reduce the size of the 
army (Dom. 1 2) : but a statement of unrealized intentions is not very good 
historical evidence (cf. J.R.S. xx, 1930, p. 68) 


begun in practice before it was applied as a regulation Domitian's 
increase of the legionary pay may not have been an unmitigated 
bribe (see above, pp. 29, 133)- Furthermore, whatever the nominal 
and legal term of discharge, soldiers frequently served beyond it, 
whether from choice or compulsion: and the maintenance of the 
legions below their full strength in times of peace was another 
attractive economy. Above all, a deficiency of legionary soldiers 
could be compensated by an increase of the auxiliary forces. 

The provinces already paid a heavy contribution to the legions. 
Though there is no foundation for the belief that Italian recruiting 
ceases with Vespasian 1 , a gradual change can be detected. From 
the time of Hadrian onwards the contribution of northern Italy 
and the more romanized parts of the Empire declines sharply; the 
provincial armies derive their recruits instead from local sources, 
from the children of the camps and the population of the adjacent 
regions. The legions more and more approximate to the auxilia in 
composition as well as in equipment and in length of service. 

The auxiliary soldiers on the Rhine who had first followed the 
legions to war and rapine and then had defeated or dominated their 
depleted remnants were mainly Germanic or Gallic in origin, even 
when the regiments in which they served bore the names of Spanish 
or Dalmatian tribes* And though the rebellious auxilia were 
disbanded or dispersed and replaced by new formations, the old 
practice of local recruiting resumed its sway* Not that the regi- 
ments were ethnic units this was only true of the Batavian auxilia^ 
a new series of which was levied, and certain specialist formations 
such as Syrian bowmen* Though all the regiments distinguished 
with the Flavian name may not have been entirely new creations, 
it is clear that the army was considerably augmented by Vespasian 
and his sons. 

So much for the armed forces of the frontier provinces. What of 
the reserves? Good communications would facilitate the trans- 
ference of troops from frontier to frontier^ and with the passing 
of time some of the provinces could dispense with all or most of 
the legions that garrisoned them. Spain had already surrendered 
two legionsj Dalmatia one; and in the future the Flavian policy 
of organization and pacification might be expected to yield similar 
results. There were also the Italian fleets, which had already en- 
riched the army with two legions. Nor should the garrison of the 
city of Rome be forgotten. Inflated by the soldiery of Vitellius, 
the Praetorian Cohorts were reduced by Vespasian to the number 

1 As held by Mommsen, Ges Schriften, vi, p, 37, and developed by M/ 
Rostovtzeff, Soc. and Econ. Hist* of the Roman Empire* pp. 1 03 and 510^. 


of nine 1 : and there were four Urban Cohorts 2 . To historians and 
moralists the Praetorians are a subject of disparagement as well 
as distaste. Their loyalty to Otho had been signalized by valour 
rather than discipline; but in the wars of Domitian the Guard was 
chastened by service on the frontiers. They were resentful after 
his assassination, but a year elapsed before they sought to avenge 
their Emperor and their honour (see below, p. 196). 

Of the discipline of the army in general, it is difficult to speak 
when the evidence is partisan as well as imperfect 3 . If the sudden 
ordeal of the Danubian wars found officers and men unprepared s 
it schooled them by adversity and turned the army into the 
formidable fighting-machine which proved its worth under Trajan. 

The first duty of an army, however, is not to make war but to 
prevent war. The Empire was large enough: such extension as it 
might require was modest consolidation rather than conquest. 
Vespasian therefore recognized the limits imposed upon the 
Roman dominions by nature or by policy and proceeded to make 
them more definite and more secure. 

A description of the system of frontier defence in the Roman 
Empire might appear to belong more naturally to the history of 
Hadrian, the emperor with whose name it is linked in a fashion 
so intimate and so enduring; but to trace the design and the process 
of which the work of Hadrian is but the culmination, not the origin, 
demands an earlier beginning. Bold innovation and rapid change 
are foreign to the slow and almost casual development of the 
imperial system. In his organization of the army and of the de- 
fences of the Empire, Hadrian returns to the sober and peaceful 
policy of the Flavians which had been deserted by the energy and 
the ambition of the warlike emperor whose damaged inheritance 
he received and repaired (see below, p. 312 J^.). 

On the frontiers of the Empire what has most impressed the 
imagination of posterity is the visible barrier that separated the 
world of civilization from the outer regions, the mound of earth, 
the stone wall, the wooden palisade: the frontiers which these 
works protected had existed before them and might have existed 

1 Dessau 1993. A tenth cohort was soon added, probably by Domitian 
(Ann* epig. 1930, no. 1 6). 

2 In addition the cities of Lugdunum and Carthage had each a cohort 
for garrison. 

3 Pliny (Ep. vm, 14, 7) complains of the poor state of discipline at the 
time when he served as a military tribune (c. A.D, 80): that was in a 
Syrian legion. Pliny praises Trajan as the restorer of military discipline 
(Pan. 1 8) ; that was after Nerva. 


without them. The recognition of the need for definlteness in the 
drawing of the frontiers and the most decisive steps towards its 
achievement were due to the emperors of the Flavian House. 

Once Britain had been dealt with, it might have appeared that 
this modest Ideal was near to attainment. Before Vespasian died, 
twenty imperatorial salutations were recorded in his titles, one 
short of the total of Augustus. This comparison gives point to a 
contrast. The time of Augustus had been the epic age of the Roman 
army. The conquests or rather the annexations of the Flavians 
were not intended to provide a theatre for brilliant exploits of 
strategy. A slow process of subjugation is consummated by driving 
roads and establishing fortified posts: the spade steadily super- 
sedes the sword. 

Great generals are as much out of place as under the successors 
of Augustus, The sudden crisis on the Danube In the reign of 
Domitian, however, made more exacting claims. How far they 
were satisfied, it is difficult to say 1 . As in other branches of the 
imperial administration, the needs of the armies and the provinces 
were met by an increasing measure of specialization. There were 
many senators like the younger Pliny whose service as a military 
tribune had been brief and superficial, and who were subsequently 
not placed in command of a legion. Others, however, might pass 
through a long course of training and hope at last to govern the 
great military provinces not the surviving heirs of Republican 
families or the descendants of Augustan consuls, for such men were 
systematically excluded, but a newer nobility, not Infrequently of 
equestrian parentage and provincial origin. It is significant that the 
longest known period of military service of young senators occurs 
In the reign of Vespasian. Trajan, the future emperor, passed ten 
stipendia as a military tribune 2 * Nor had military technique fallen 
behind. As before, it had adapted itself to changing needs* With 
the Romans it had never been a theoretical study, but embodied 
the lessons of experience, formed and transmitted In the camps, 
and seldom recorded in writing. The technical accomplishments, 
like the geographical knowledge, of Roman military men, were 
wider and deeper than anything revealed in the manuals composed 
by Greek professors or retired generals. The reader of the Strate** 
gemata of Frontlnus would never infer that their author had con- 
summated the conquest of Wales. 

Frontinus and Agricola are typical of the age that produced 

1 Tacitus, jtfgric. 41 the inertia et formido of the generals, a theme 
expanded by Pliny, Pan, 1 8, 

2 Pliny, Pan. 15. 


them and the age that needed them. All the arts of a biographer 
could not invest such a man with a brilliance alien to his character 
and achievements. And it might have been feared that the Flavian 
period as a whole would be barren and uninspiring. The reign of 
Doraitian, however, in foreign as in domestic policy, belied this 
fear and gave the historian full scope for his peculiar talents. But 
the masterpiece of Tacitus breaks off with the submission of 
Civilis. It Is not only the splendour of Tacitean rhetoric that has 
perished. Most of the facts are gone beyond recall. It is with the 
utmost difficulty that even a bare outline, let alone a coherent and 
credible narrative, can be reconstructed. Other evidence, of 
different kinds, must be invoked. Inscriptions have revealed names 
and facts and even whole wars that were hitherto unknown; 
and, especially with the aid of the stamped tiles manufactured in 
such numbers by the soldiers, the movements of legions can often 
be traced and related to facts or conjectures of history. Many 
military sites have been identified and some have been system- 
atically excavated : and the study of the finds of coins and pottery 
has often permitted a very close dating. But it will not be for- 
gotten that the archaeological as well as the literary record is 
fragmentary and incomplete. The earliest testimony of epigraphy 
or archaeology is not always the earliest that ever existed, and 
silence may be a lying advocate. 

These difficulties, everywhere present, are most apparent when 
the subject is a slow advance or a peaceful re-organization that 
offered no incidents worth recording for their own sake or for 
purposes of misrepresentation. Before the wars on the northern 
frontiers are narrated the most important as well as the most 
dramatic chapter of the foreign policy of the Flavian Emperors 
it will be necessary to sketch in outline the uneventful annals of 
the eastern provinces and of northern Africa. 


The claim of the Romans to dispose as they pleased of Armenia 
had proved not only distasteful to the inhabitants of that country 
and provocative to Parthia, but a source of trouble to themselves. 

The reign of Nero witnessed a series of campaigns, or rather of 
manoeuvres. A Roman army was induced to capitulate: it was 
allowed to depart. Corbulo marched, impressive and unopposed, 
through the length and breadth of Armenia. As national prestige 
and 'historical' claims had been pledged on both sides, it was no 
less remarkable than fortunate that good sense was allowed to 


prevail. A compromise was reached, by which a prince of the 
Parthian royal house was to rule in Armenia, but was to receive 
his investiture from Rome (see above, voL x, p. 772). 

In the East as elsewhere the policy of Vespasian was not so much 
an innovation as an open recognition,, to the last consequences, of 
a changed situation. The Romans had resigned control,, direct or 
indirect, over Armenia, The abandonment of this sphere of in- 
fluence was followed by the substitution of Roman provincial 
government in certain dependent kingdoms that had indubitably 
belonged to the Empire. A new frontier called for a new system 
of defence. 

Hitherto the only legionary armies stationed in the East had 
been the two legions of Egypt and the four in Syria. The Syrian 
like the Egyptian troops enjoyed no great repute as soldiers. If 
a vigorous effort was intended or threatened, the European armies 
were called upon to supply fighting troops : in the time of Nero no 
fewer than three legions had been summoned from the Danubian 
lands, the source that fed in later days the campaigns of Trajan, 
of Verus and of Septimius Severus. On the line of the Euphrates 
itself where a Parthian invasion would come if it ever came 
none of the legions seem to have been permanently posted. Nor 
is it likely that the army of Syria was equipped with auxiliary 
regiments in the proportion of the warlike provinces of the West 
and North there was little prospect of operations in the field, 
there was as yet no organized system of frontier defence. At need, 
the levies of the dependent princes were available. 

The Parthian War of Nero and the insurrection in Judaea had 
necessitated the establishment of two temporary commands. They 
were made permanent by Vespasian. For one army of four legions 
in Syria Vespasian substituted three armies, in Syria, Cappa- 
docia and Judaea, with a total of six legions, By the end of the 
reign of Hadrian no fewer than eight legions were strung out along 
the eastern frontier from Satala in the north to Bostra in Arabia. 

To maintain order in Judaea one of the legions employed by 
Titus, X Fretensis, was left at Jerusalem, This lightened the task 
of the army of Syria, now reduced to three legions: and the area 
of that province was at the same time extended and consolidated* 
All the dependent principalities were not> it is true^ at once dis- 
solved. Between the new province of Judaea and the southern 
borders of Syria a large region , Batanea, Trachonitis, Peraea and 
part of Galilee^ remained under the rule of Agrippa II until his 
death (r. A.D. 93) 1 ; and farther to the east and south-east the king- 
dom of the Nabataean Arabs preserved its independence down to 
* Cf. P.W., s.v. M. lulius Agrippa IL 


the time of Trajan. The exact limits of the province of Syria on 
the south are uncertain. Sohaemus, the prince of Emesa, was still 
reigning in 72, but he may before long have relinquished the throne 
amicably and with honour 1 . Aristobulus may have continued for 
a time to hold the neighbouring principality of Chalcis in the 
Lebanon 2 . Midway between Damascus and the bank of the 
Euphrates lay the city of Palmyra, in a fertile oasis. It had long 
remained aloof and secure, independent of the rival empires of 
Rome and Parthia and profiting by their discord 3 . There was 
no. sudden annexation of Palmyra and so no date for it: there 
was a gradual process of tightening control and final absorption 
(see below, p. 859). One of the stages of this process probably 
belongs to the Flavian period. A milestone set up in the year 75 
by M. Ulpius Traianus, the governor of Syria, has been discovered 
at Aracha, some twenty miles east of Palmyra 4 . The road on 
which it stood ran from Palmyra to Aracha, thence north-eastwards 
to the station of Sura on the Euphrates and may have served 
to mark the frontier of Syria. It would therefore appear that 
Vespasian had taken in hand the delimitation of the frontier of 
Syria on the south and south-east. The comparatively late date at 
which the Romans incorporated territories like Palmyra and 
Arabia with their promise of rich profit from the caravan trade 
illustrates how indifferent on the whole was their frontier policy to 
economic advantages. A livelier interest in that subject might be 
deduced from the character of Vespasian. 

A delimitation of the frontier of Syria between the Lebanon and 
the Euphrates was probably accompanied by a stricter watch upon 
the Euphrates itself, along the bank of which river the province of 
Syria now received an added extension to the north; for though 
Syria lost Cilicia Campestris, which together with Cilicia Aspera 
was converted into a separate province under a legate of praetorian 
standing, it gained Commagene. The deposition of Antiochus IV, 
the ruler of that region, was decreed, on a flimsy pretext he was 
alleged to have entertained treasonable negotiations with Parthia. 
In the course of the year 72 the governor of Syria, Caesennius 
Paetus, accompanied by the legion VI Ferrata and the levies of 
the kings Sohaemus and Aristobulus, entered the territory of 
Commagene and marched upon the capital city of Samosata. 
Conscious of innocence or of impotence, Antiochus would offer 
no resistance. His sons, Epiphanes and Callinicus, displayed more 
spirit. They took up arms and engaged the Roman forces. But the 

1 Dessau 8958. 2 Pros. Imp. Rom* i, no. 1052. 

3 Pliny, N.H. v, 88. 4 Ann. epig. 1933, no. 205. 


despair of the king rendered their cause hopeless. They escaped 
to Parthia. Vologases received the princes with honour, but did 
not refuse to yield them up when a centurion called Veil us Rufus 
arrived bearing the mandate of Vespasian. Thus ended the Bellum 
Comniagenicum, if we may use the fine name of an inscription 1 , 

In this way the bounds of the province of Syria were defined and 
regulated. Its eastern frontier was the river Euphrates from the 
great gorge above Samosata as far down as the neighbourhood of 
Sura : that frontier was now to be firmly defended. Of the important 
passages across the river into Mesopotamia, Samosata as well as 
Zeugma was now in Roman hands, and both, it is to be presumed, 
were held by legions. From the time of Hadrian onwards Samosata 
was certainly garrisoned by XVI Flavia firma, then one of the 
Syrian legions, but still in Cappadocia under the Flavian emperors. 
The evidence about the Syrian army in this period is, however, so 
scanty that it cannot be proved whether or no the legion VI Ferrata, 
which occupied Samosata in 72, subsequently remained there 2 * 
IV Scythica was certainly the legion stationed nearest to Antioch, 
the capital of Syria either at Cyrrhus or at Zeugma* The other, 
III Gallica, if not itself at Zeugma or Samosata, was perhaps at 
Raphaneae in the south, near Emesa, its station in the second 

In the north a comprehensive change, initiated in the time of 
Nero, was recognized and completed. For the conduct of opera- 
tions in Armenia a separate command had been instituted in 
Cappadocia. The post to which Corbulo was first appointed, and 
which Caesennms Paetus subsequently held, appears to have been 
the combined governorship of Cappadocia and Galatia, Vespasian 
placed a consular legate in charge of a vast Anatolian province 
extending north-eastwards from the confines of Asia and JPam- 
phylia to the coast of Pontus and the upper reaches of thcEuphrates. 
On the south Galatia lost some territory to the newly-formed 
province of Lycia-Pamphylia: but the various regions that in the 
course of time had come to be included in the province of Galatia, 
namely Pisidia, Isauria, Lycaonia, Paphlagonia, Galatia, and 
Galatic Pontus, were now united to Cappadocia* But this was not 
all in ^64-5 Nero had annexed Pontus Polemoniacus, and in 72 
Armenia Minor was also added to the new province 3 . The Cappa- 

1 Josephus, Bell. Jud. vu [7, 1-3], 219-435 Dessau 9198, 9200. 

2 C JL K. McEldeny, C.O. nr, 1909, p. 52. The legion at Samosata 
might, however, have been III Gallica, c Dessau 8903, 

s Fr, Cuoiont in Anatolian Studies presented to Sir, J/ 7 ! M* 
pp. 109-19. 


docian army, as for brevity and convenience it may be called, 
comprised two legions. The one, XII Fulminata, guarded the 
important crossing of the Euphrates at Melitene, whither it had 
been dispatched by Titus in A.D. 70. The other legion of the army 
of Cappadocia was XVI Flavia firma, a new creation of Vespasian 1 . 
It may be assumed that Satala, to the north, in Armenia Minor 
(the camp of the legion XV Apollinaris from the time of Hadrian 
onwards) had a Flavian origin* The coasts of the Black Sea were 
now subjected to a closer control by the Romans 2 ; and the port of 
Trapezus was of manifest value for an army in Cappadocia 3 . 
Satala, lying on the road that ran eastwards to Elegeia (near 
Erzerum), was a position of considerable strategic importance. 

For the leisurely processes of diplomacy was now substituted 
the presence of Roman legions and the threat of instant action. It 
was not enough, however, to station legions commanding the 
entrances to Armenia and ready to invade it. It was necessary to 
link the camps of the Cappadocian army with each other, with the 
army of Syria and with the provinces in the rear. The absence of 
good communications had been sorely felt in the time of Nero. In 
the event of war, Danubian troops would again be required, and, 
for their passage, roads, especially in the north. The Flavian 
emperors undertook a comprehensive programme of construction 
and repair all over Asia Minor 4 . The work was prosecuted under 
Nerva and Trajan. 

Of the communications between west and east the most northerly 
the great Pontic highroad from Bithynia coming by Phazimon and 
Neocaesarea to Nicopolis and thence to the fortress of Satala 
now recovered the military importance which it had lost since the 
Mithridatic Wars 5 . This road was also accessible in various ways 

1 The governor of Cappadocia-Galatia was of consular standing, and so 
there must have been a garrison of two legions (Tacitus, Hist, 11, 8 1 ; 
Suetonius, Vesp. 8). 

2 Josephus, BelL Jud. n [16, 4], 366 sq. the dramatic date of the speech 
is A. r>. 66, but Flavian rather than Neroniaa conditions may be reflected 
(see above, vol. x, p. 775 sq^). 3 Tacitus, Ann. xm, 39. 

4 Dessau 253, near Prusa; 263, Dorylaeum Ancyra; 268, Ancyra; 
8904, Nicopolis-Satala; C.LL. m, 12218, Lystra-Derbe; 14.184,^, 
south-east of Ancyra, on the road to Caesarea Mazaca. 

6 For this road, c J. A. R. Munro, jf.H.S. xxi, 1901, pp. 52-66, 
Between the Halys and Nicopolis there are four milestones of Nerva and 
one of Nerva or Trajan (Munro, op. cit. p. 63 ; CJ. L. m, 121 58-9 ; 1 4 1 84 23 5 
I4i84 32 ~" a ). East of Nicopolis, however, there is a milestone from which 
the name of Domitian appears to have been erased (F. Cumont, Studia 
Pontica> n, p. 325): and the milestone of A.D, 76 from Melik Sherif 


from Ancyra, for example, through Amasla or Pontlc Comana; 
moreover from Ancyra a road ran due east by Tavlum to Sebastela 
where It branched^ eastwards by Nicopolls to Satala 3 south-eastwards 
to Melitene. Farther to the south, the main eastward route from 
Caesarea Mazaca through Arabissus to Melitene may not have 
been neglected, though evidence of its construction and use as a 
military road at this time is lacking 1 . 

It has been maintained that the engineers of the Flavians 
prepared the conquests of Trajan 2 : but it does not follow that the 
Flavian emperors were designing a war of conquest. Whatever 
their policy, roads were required. Moreover ? the policy which 
Vespasian inherited from Nero gave a promise of lasting peace. 
It depended upon mutual tolerance and the recognition of a 
common interest. If conciliation were not interpreted as weakness, 
the honour and the advantage of Rome were alike secured. The 
vicissitudes of Armenian affairs enliven and adorn the pages of 
Tacitus, to him a welcome relief from the monotony and the 
degradation of domestic politics. But it all mattered very little. 
The policy of Augustus and of his successors may have appeared 
irresolute, that of the Flavian emperors unheroic* Yet one fact 
remains. Between Ventidius' victory at Gindarus and the second 
year of Marcus Aurelius two centuries elapsed. In that space of 
time no Parthian was ever seen west of the Euphrates save as a 
hostage or a captive. Parthia was not a well-organized power, 
capable of conducting a sustained war and formidable in offence. 
Though the Arsacid might affect the title of "King of Kings" he 
could not count upon obedience among his vassals or the concord 
of his family: and even when not wholly incapacitated by domestic 
feuds or civil strife the Parthians were hampered by the absence 
of a standing army and by their ignorance of the art of siege-warfare. 
A prince of the house of Herod warned the Jews that it was vain to 
expect aid from Parthia 3 , Such hopes were more suitably enshrined 
in apocalyptic literature than admitted to any rational calculation 
of policy. 

Nor was it certain that Rome would resume the habit of aggres- 
sion. The memory of Crassus and the influence of poets and his- 
torians exalted Parthia to an equal and a rival of the Roman Kmpire : 

(Dessau 8904) probably belongs to that road. Extensive repairs under Nerva 
and in the early years of Trajan are attested by numerous milestones on the 
roads Ancyra~l aviunx, Tavium Amasia and Gangra-Amasia. 

1 C J. G. C. Anderson, J.H.8. xvir, 1897, pp. 27-8. 

2 Cumont, op. at p, 115. 

3 Josephus, Bell. Jud. n [16, 4], 379 and 389. 


but it was the part of prudence to Ignore the temptation presented 
by Parthian weakness and a popular war. Moreover^ the common 
interest of Rome and Parthia in the preservation of peace was now 
cemented by a common danger, the pressure of the Sarmatian Alani 
from beyond the Caucasus. Whatever may have been the nature 
of the projects conceived but abandoned by Nero, they would have 
involved action with rather than action against Parthia; and 
Vologases was disposed to extend to Vespasian the favour with 
which he had regarded Nero. In the crisis of 69 Vologases had 
offered the aid of his horsemen to Vespasian, and several years later 
(c. A.D. 75) he suggested concerted measures to repress and punish 
the Alani who had been harrying his dominions. The Alani had 
been let loose on Media by enemies of Parthia, the Hyrcanians. 
After over-running Media they swept through Armenia on their 
return, all but capturing Tiridates, the prince of Armenia, by their 
dexterity in the use of the lasso 1 . Roman territory does not seem 
to have been violated on this occasion 2 . Vespasian declined the 
invitation of Vologases and thereby deprived his younger son of 
that opportunity for a military command and military glory which 
he so ardently desired 3 . Rome took her own measures to avert any 
invasion that might threaten from across the Caucasus through the 
Darial Pass, and in A.D. 75 Roman troops were building a fort at 
Harmozica near Tiflis in the client-kingdom of the Iberians 4 . 

Vologases took offence. His resentment may have been further 
inflamed by the extension of Roman control over Palmyra about 
this time. A threat of hostilities was countered and averted in 
some way or other by M. Ulpius Traianus, and a diplomatic 
success was commemorated by the dispatch of a 'Parthian laurel' 
to Rome 5 . In this achievement the studied vagueness of a pane- 
gyrist associated the son of the governor, then serving as a military 
tribune in one of the Syrian legions. Thwarted, like Domitian, of an 
Eastern war in his youth, in his old age he was to have his revenge. 

Fate had forged the Parthians a weapon, if they cared to use it* 

1 Josephus, Bell. Jud. vn [7, 4], 24451 (in A.D. 72). 

2 Josephus is silent, and nothing can be got from Suetonius' statement 
about Cappadocia propter assiduos barbarorum incursu? (JPesp. 8). 

3 Suetonius, Dom. 2; Dio LXV, 15, 3 (A.D. 75); B*M Cat. JR.. Emp. 11, 
p. 42. 4 Dessau 8795. 

5 Pliny, Pan. 14. For a bloodless c Parthian laurel/ c Tacitus, Ann. 
xui, 9. The elder Trajan was awarded the ornament a triumphalia (Dessau 
8970). Hostilities with Parthia in the Flavian period are disproved by 
Tacitus, Hist, i, 2. Cf. Aurelius Victor, Epit. ix, 12, rex Parthorum 
Fologaesus metu solo in pacem coactus est> Caes. IX, 10, ac bellv (ab illo^ 
Gutschmid) rex Parthorum Pologaesw in pacem coactus. 


The sudden and mysterious disappearance of Nero encouraged a 
belief that he was alive and would return, a belief still prevalent 
as late as the time of Trajan and shared by pagan, Jew and Christian. 
In this fertile soil of superstition a crop of impostors sprang up 
and throve upon the affection or the terror that the name of Nero 
had inspired over all the East. The first of them arose in the year 69 : 
he was quickly suppressed. Of the others the total is unknown 
two secured a place in history before the Flavian dynasty went the 
way of the Julio-Claudians. In the hopes of the Jews the end of the 
Empire and the last days were to be heralded by a Parthian in- 
vasion : and it was not unreasonable to conjecture that Nero was 
lurking in Parthia. Composers of Sibylline oracles developed this 
attractive theme according to one forecast there would appear 
at the time of an eruption of Vesuvius 'the exiled man of Rome 
lifting up a mighty sword, crossing the river Euphrates with many 
tens of thousands 1 / Prophecy is often no more than a sanguine 
interpretation of contemporary history. In the early months of the 
brief reign of Titus a certain Tcrentius Maximus claiming to be 
Nero gathered a company of followers in Asia, advanced to the 
bank of the Euphrates and took refuge with Artabatms IV, who 
made preparations to restore him 2 . Of this there was no danger. 
Weakened by the permanent loss of Hyrcania, and by the death 
of the able Vologases (c. 77?)> Parthia was a prey to internal 
dissensions for many years 1 *. Artabanus did not rule over all the 
Parthian dominions, and it was some time before Pacorus succeeded 
in establishing a precarious unity* A favourable but transient 
conjuncture presented itself towards the end of the year 8 8 or early 
in 8 9 4 . The energies of Rome were engaged in a Dacian war ; a great 
conspiracy and the armed rising of Antonius Saturninus revealed 
the insecurity of Domitian 5 . Dacia and Parthia may indeed have 
been in negotiation, as they were some years later, against their 
common enemy (below, p. 239): but the Parthians needed no 
encouragement if they could embarrass Rome without risk to 
themselves. A Nero was certain to be available- Tercntius 
Maximus if he was still with them, or another, and so the Parthians 
are found giving vigorous support to a false Nero and threatening 
war. But the crisis passed, and before long they were induced 

1 Orac. SibylL iv, 130-9. 2 Die j-xvi 19, 3 b~c (Boisscvain). 

3 BM. Cat, Parthia, pp. Ivi-lvii. 

4 Suetonius, Nero, 57; Tacitus, Hist, i, 2. A diploma of November 7, 88 
{jinn* dpzg* 1927, no. 44), attests a concentration of auxiliary troops in Syria. 

5 Below, p. 172, It was about this time that a proconsul of Asia was put 
to death, Tacitus, Jgrk. 42$ Dessau 1374. 


to surrender their guest 1 . The failure of these impostors did not 
dispel, but may have modified, the belief that Nero lived and 
must return. 


Until Hadrian, no emperor chose to visit Africa in person or 
send thither a son or a colleague; and in the interval of confusion 
from the fall of Nero to the triumph of the Flavian cause the 
decision was fought out in other lands : all that the African pro- 
vinces endured was a brief notoriety, rather than any serious dis- 
turbance or damage. Save for a few notices that might appear to 
concern geography rather than history, the literary record lapses 
again into silence. But that silence is no measure of the importance 
of Africa in the fifty years that followed, these wide territories 
were the theatre of events, or rather of processes, without some 
consideration of which no study of imperial policy in its relation 
to native races and frontier defence could be other than defective 
and misleading. 

In the trouble they gave to the Roman administration, the tribes 
of the desert itself could not be compared with those of the plateau 
of Numidia and the tangled mountains of Mauretania. Where the 
frontier faced the desert, it seems to have been most easily watched 
and most secure. In the year 70 the Garamantes had been per- 
suaded to participate in the dissensions between Oea and Leptis, 
two of the cities of Tripolitania. Retribution was not long delayed. 
Though they hoped to baffle pursuit by covering up the wells as 
they fled, a Roman column penetrated their territory by a new 
route 2 . Relations of friendship were now renewed, as can be 
inferred from the record of two distant expeditions preserved by 
Ptolemy the geographer 3 . Septimius Flaccus who had come with 
troops to Garama advanced a three-months* journey beyond it into 
the land of the Ethiopians, and a certain Julius Maternus of Leptis, 
perhaps a merchant rather than a soldier, went even farther. 
Accompanied by the king of the Garamantes, he travelled for four 
months and came to Agisymba, 4 the assembling-place of the 
rhinoceros,* probably Lake Tchad. 

North-east from the Garamantes and south and east of Leptis 
dwelt another desert tribe, the Nasamones, who revolted in 85 or 

1 Suetonius^ Nero* 575 Statins, Silv. iv, 3, no, Eoae dtius venite laurus. 

2 Tacitus, Hist, iv, 49-505 Pliny, N.H. v, 38. 
8 PtoL i, 8, 4-5. 

C.A,H. XI 10 


863 at a time when the Romans were hampered by serious embar- 
rassments in another part of northern Africa, in Mauretania (see 
below, p. 149)* The legate of the army of Numidia defeated them 
with great carnage, and Domitian was able to announce to the 
Senate that the Nasamones had ceased to exist 1 . The cause of this 
disturbance is assigned to discontent with Roman fiscal methods, 
an assertion which naturally cannot be verified. Yet here as else- 
where the Romans may well have been seeking to restrict the 
independence and freedom of movement of a nomad tribe. How- 
ever that may be, it is certain that by the early years of Trajan's 
reign there had been a considerable advance on the other side of 
the Shott-el-Djerid, to the south of the great mountain massif of 
the Aurfes. This was the complement to the moving forward of the 
legion from Theveste to Lambaesis ; and the result was the encircle- 
ment of the Aur&s. 

The Roman province of Africa remained quite small. The legion 
III Augusta, commanded \yya.legatu$ independent of the proconsul, 
seems to have been stationed at first at Ammaedara, some twenty 
miles north-east of Theveste> whither it was transferred early in 
the Flavian period 2 * Of any kind of definite frontier in Africa it 
is still too early to speak : for the greater part of the century the 
zone of Roman control might be roughly represented by a line 
bending eastwards and southwards from the territory of Cirta to 
Ammaedara and from Ammaedara curving again by way of 
Thelepte to Capsa 3 . There may have been here and there a few 
fortified posts, garrisoned by legionary detachments or auxiliary 
regiments ; but in Africa as in Illyricum and elsewhere the Romans 
at first relied largely upon a method of maintaining peace which 
was more economical than an intensive military occupation or an 
organized system of frontier defence. Native tribes were left in 
the charge of their own chieftains or placed under the supervision 
of a Roman military official 4 * 

1 Zonaras XL, 19 = Dio LXVII, 4, 67 (Boissevain), The general's name 
was Flaccus, perhaps Cn. Suellius Flaccus (S. Gsell, LL. JL i, 3002)* 
The date comes from Eusebius, 84/5 in the Armenian version, 85/6 in 

2 F. de Pachtere, *Les camps de la troisi&me legion en Afrique au premier 
siecle de F empire/ C.JRL J$c. Inscr. 1916, pp. 273 sqqs, Gsell, op. at. i p* 286. 
Ammaedara yielded a number of early military gravestones, to which are 
now to be added five more, jinn. tpig. 1927, nos. 3842. 

3 Cf. R. Cagnat, Uarmie romame tPAfrique*, pp 582 sqq. 

4 Examples of these officers are provided by the following inscriptions 
belonging to the period from Nero to Hadrian; Dessau 1418, 1435, 2721, 


The Roman rule was often welcome to an agricultural popula- 
tion, to whom it brought protection from their enemies, the 
predatory pastoral tribes of the mountain and the steppe. The 
latter were regarded by the Romans as beyond the pale of civiliza- 
tion, and in the interests of peace it was necessary either to 
exterminate them or to compel them to change their habits. 
Because of seasonal variations, the pastoral peoples must wander 
over wide tracts in search of subsistence for their flocks and herds. 
The Romans required land for colonial foundations : it was won 
at the expense of the nomads, who were themselves compelled to 
resort to agriculture if they were to survive at all within their 
restricted limits. As the Romans in the Flavian period moved 
steadily forward south and west over the plateau of Numidia, the 
shepherd and the herdsman retired before the peasant, and a broad 
zone was redeemed for agriculture and for civilization. The 
Musulamii especially suffered for the benefit of colonies, imperial 
domains and private estates 1 . Most conspicuous but not alone 
among the foundations of the Flavians may be mentioned the 
military colonies of Madauros and Ammaedara. The work pro- 
ceeded apace. Nerva founded a colony at Sitifi in old Numidian 
land just inside the frontier of Mauretania, and Theveste received 
colonists from Trajan when the legion departed. The clearest 
indication of the extent of the advance that had been made in these 
years is revealed by Trajan's colony of Thamugadi, a long way to 
the west of Theveste and only twelve miles short of the legionary 
camp of Lambaesis. Thamugadi was founded in A,D. 100, and the 
legion III Augusta co-operated in the building 2 . For this reason 
it would be preferable to date the transference of the legionary 
camp from Theveste to Lambaesis near the beginning rather than 
the end of the reign of Trajan 3 . 

When the legion was encamped at Ammaedara or Theveste, it 
covered the fertile territory of proconsular Africa behind it and 
kept watch over the Musulamii. Its transference to Lambaesis 
marked a momentous change. At Lambaesis the legion was within 
striking distance of the difficult country in the south-east of 
Mauretania: and it now became possible to construct a chain of 

* C, e.g.) Dessau 59589. There are numerous inscriptions from the 
years 1025. 

2 Dessau 6841. 

3 Until de Pachtere (op. cif.) showed that Ammaedara had been a 
legionary camp it was necessary to postulate an intermediate stage between: 
Theveste and Lambaesis in order to explain Hadrian's remarks to the troops 
(Dessau 2487). 



forts to Zarai ? thirty miles south of Sitifi, continuous (and perhaps 
contemporaneous) with the outer line of defence of that part of 
Mauretania. More important than this, Larabaesis^ lying between 
the mountains of Batna in the west and the Aur&s on the south-cast, 
commanded the entrance to the defile of El Kantara leading south- 
wards to Biskra on the edge of the desert. The encirclement of the 
Aures proceeded simultaneously from the other side ; in the early 
years of Trajan a line of posts was erected between the Aures and 
the Shotts running from east to west, from the station Ad Maiores 
to Biskra 1 * In this way the Aures was isolated. It was not, however, 
penetrated and occupied until a generation had elapsed. The com- 
pletion of this process provided an admirable frontier on the south 
and west and enabled the provinces of Africa and Numidia to 
develop unhindered the prosperity which was one of the most 
imposing memorials of the Roman peace, 

Mauretania was very different* Ever since the two Roman 
provinces of Caesariensis and Tingitana had been substituted for 
a native kingdom, unrest was endemic and recurrent. Numidia 
received an adequate frontier on the south, facing the Sahara* In 
Mauretania, however, the Roman power even at its greatest 
extension in the third century did not cover the wide plateau of 
southern Algeria; worse than that, there remained within the 
nominal limits of the province of Caesariensis many regions that 
were really unsubdued. The irregular and broken character of the 
land and the absence of natural lines of communication or of 
demarcation made it difficult for the Romans to draw a single and 
continuous frontier* In different parts of the country they were 
compelled to build both parallel and transverse chains of fortified 
posts for the purpose of isolating and controlling refractory regions 
like the mountains of Kabylia north of Sitifi. When the term frontier 
is applied to Mauretania it merely means the southernmost line 
of forts. In Hadrian's time, when the frontier of Mauretania was 
continuous with that of Numidia, it appears to have run from Zaral 
westwards between the mountains of Biban and those of the Hodna 
to Auzia and Rapidum, and thence to the valley of the Ch&lif \ 
But beyond Oran the western frontier of Caesariensis is ill-defined* 

1 C.LL* vm, 2478$ 2479 a* 17971, of A.JX 105* building-Inscriptions 
of the fort of Ad Maiores. To the same year belong two milestones of the 
road leading westwards in the direction of Biskra, CJ*L vm 22348-9. 
South-east of Ad Maiores, Castellum Thigensium had already been occupied 
as early as A.D, 83, C.LL* vin, 23165. 

2 The fort of Rapidum was probably built in A.D. 122, C.LL. vitt, 
20833. There is no earlier evidence about this frontier. 


It was separated from Tingitana by the mountains of the Riff, 
which throughout the centuries have maintained their inde- 
pendence of all empires down to the year 1925. The Romans who 
were able to subjugate regions like Asturia or Isauria left the Riff 
alone and did not even seek to isolate it effectively by penetrating 
into the interior behind it and securing a line of communications 
between Caesariensis and Tingitana. Even when, as not infre- 
quently happened, the two provinces were placed under the charge 
of a single governor, he had to travel from the one to the other by 
sea; by land, there was no route, no common frontier. Tingitana 
itself was a tiny province with a coast-line running from Tangier 
to Rabat : it was shaped like a triangle with its base on the Atlantic 
and its apex at Fez, Though isolated from Caesariensis, Tingitana 
was close to Baetica : in the fourth century it is reckoned as one of 
the Spanish provinces 1 . 

Even in times of comparative peace Mauretania required a large 
army of occupation larger than that of Numidia : there is adequate 
evidence of its presence 2 . Besides the regular auxiliary regiments 
there was a dangerous abundance of native levies, serving under 
chieftains of their own such as the notorious Lusius Quietus (see 
below, p. 228). Although policy counselled a minimum of inter- 
ference, peace and order could not always be guaranteed by these 
methods. A Mauretanian rising, like all African wars in any age, 
was an affair of years. Of these perennial disturbances, the best 
known is the war which exercised the government of Pius for at 
least six years and brought to Mauretania troops from many pro- 
vinces (see below, p. 336 j^.). But it does not stand alone, under 
Trajan and under Hadrian there was trouble in Mauretania 3 : 
and it might have been expected that the emperors of the Flavian 
House with their conscious policy of consolidation and delimitation 
in the frontier provinces would have chosen to pay some attention 
to Mauretania even if they had not been compelled to. 

The cause, extent and duration of Domitian's Mauretanian War 
are alike unknown. The presumption that such a war was neither 
brief nor easily terminated is an added difficulty in dating. At some 
time between 84 and 88, probably in 845, a certain Velius Rufus 
who held or who had just been holding the command of the 
urban cohort at Carthage led an expeditionary force drawn from 
the army of Numidia against rebel tribes in Mauretania 4 : and both 

1 Festus, Brev. 5. 2 Tacitus, Hist, n, 58. 

3 Dessau 1352, a, procurator pro legato of Tingitana in the time of Trajan. 

4 Dessau 9200. Coh. XIII urbana apparently went to the Danube as 
early as 856, c Dessau 2127. 


Caesariensis and Tingitana were put in charge of a senatorial 
governor, Sentlus Caeciliatrus 1 , To be successful^ military opera- 
tions in northern Africa demand the employment of many separate 
columns of troops. From the presence of an imperial legate and 
the analogy of the war of Pius it might be inferred that Velius 
Rufus' contingent was not the only reinforcement needed if 
Mauretania was to be pacified, 

Spain is not usually reckoned among the frontier provinces of 
the Roman Empire. But even when the north-west of the peninsula 
had at last been subdued (19 B.C.), a large garrison remained in 
occupation, Though by the end of Nero's reign this had fallen to 
one Iegion 5 Vespasian did not contemplate any further reduction, 
After spending a few years in Upper Germany on its way back 
from Pannonia, the legion VII Gemma came to Spain and occupied 
the camp of Le6n ? well-placed to control the Cantahrians to the 
north and the Asturians to the west, and the already extensive 
network of roads that penetrated the wild Asturian land was 
amplified by the labours of the legionaries 2 . The southern frontier 
of Spain lay across the sea in Mauretania: and the protection of 
Spain was one of the reasons that moved Augustus to plant a dozen 
military colonies on or near the coasts of Mauretania., without as 
well as within the pillars of Hercules (vol. x, p. 346). In any crisis 
of the Empire in later days the pirates of the unconquercd Riff 
were a perennial menace to the security of the rich and peaceful 
province of Baetica. 


The accession of the Flavian House restored order in the Empire, 
and portended a change in Britain, Magni duces^ egregii exercitus, 
minuta hostium spes : the work of conquest was renewed with vigour 
and consistently prosecuted for some fifteen years by able 
generals, Cerialis, Frontinus and Agricola, with the object of 
winning a shorter frontier in Britain and ultimately a reduction of 
the garrison. Where that frontier would run, exploration and time 
would show. 

In contrast to other provinces of the Empire in this period, the 
written evidence for the history of Britain is both abundant and 
valuable. The survival of the biography of Agricola has secured to 

1 Dessau 8969. Sentius had previously been legate of Numidia (CJsell, 
op, tit. i, 3950^ a command which was probably subsequent to, and distinct 
from, the position which he held when he and Rutilius GalHcus set up 
terminal rippi along the Fossa Regia (Dessau 5955, probably c. 73.) 

2 A new road was made between Asturlca and Bracara, De$sau 5833* 


its subject that Immortality of fame which the author so confidently 
predicted: otherwise, save for a lead pipe discovered at Chester 
and the brief and garbled remarks preserved by Cassius Dio 
the name of Agricola along with his exploits would have perished 
from human knowledge 1 . Of the space devoted by Tacitus to 
the narrative of the seven campaigns of Agricola, one-half is 
engrossed by a single battle and its preliminaries; and only 
six geographical names illustrate those campaigns, a tribe, a har- 
bour, a mountain and three estuaries of all these only two 
estuaries (Clota and Bodotria) can be identified, Tacitus may have 
known more than he has told : but it is also possible that he neither 
clearly understood nor accurately transmitted some of the informa- 
tion which he had derived from the conversation of his father-in- 
law 2 . Another danger besets the interpretation of the Agricola 
it has the character of a funeral laudation . 

What is lacking in Tacitus can be supplied, up to a point, by 
the results of archaeological research. One of the routes which 
the armies of Agricola followed in the invasion of Scotland can be 
traced beyond doubt. The sites of numerous forts have provided 
accurate evidence of the territory covered and the direction taken 
by his campaigns, and even an indication of the length of time 
during which some at least of his conquests in Scotland were sub- 
sequently maintained. South of the Cheviots, however, the archaeo- 
logical evidence, while illustrating the methods by which the 
Flavian conquest was achieved, does not seem to be competent by 
itself to determine and delimit the shares of Cerialis, Frontinus 
and Agricola in the pacification of the Brigantian territory, and 
date yet more narrowly those forts which were presumably erected 
in the years 719, and are conveniently designated as * Agricolan/ 

The termination of the Batavian War late in A.D. 70 liberated 
for service in Britain a legion and a general. The army, weakened 
by the withdrawal of XIV Gemina, was restored to its former 
strength of four legions by the accession of II Adiutrix, and 
Cerialis soon arrived to take in hand the subjugation of the 
Brigantes. This tribe, or rather confederacy of tribes, was the most 
populous and most powerful in all the island 3 . The Romans had 

1 Dessau 8704, a; Dio xxxix, 50, 4; LXVI, 20, 1-3. 

2 Cf. the problems, perhaps insoluble, presented by the estuary of Tanaus 
and by the fifth campaign. 

3 jlgric* 17. The Brigantes did not constitute a unit comparable to the 
large Celtic tribes of Gaul and southern Britain: as in the north-west of 
Spain and among the Dalmatian tribes of Bosnia (with their numerous 
decurtae) a convenient name embraces a multitude of small communities. 


come into contact with the Brigantes as early as A.D. 50 ; since then, 
however, they had intervened only to supplement the resources of 
their diplomacy and secure peace by supporting the authority of 
the queen Cartimandua over her turbulent subjects. In the end 
the queen was dethroned. A Roman expeditionary force was able 
to rescue but not to restore her. And so the Brigantian War began : 
conquest was inevitable sooner or later, for no Roman frontier 
could have been safe with the untamed Brigantes beyond it. The 
campaigns in which Cerlalis battered and broke the power of this 
tribe were marked by many stubbornly contested battles. He 
departed to assume a second consulate in Rome in the year 74. 
His successor Frontinus, was not doomed to inaction he turned 
his attention to the west and by subjugating the Silures com- 
pleted the long-delayed conquest of Wales. 

Here and in many parts of the Brigantian country the Romans 
had to deal, not with an agricultural population which could be 
harried and circumvented if it were not amenable to intimidation, 
but with the difficulties of forest and mountain and the indomitable 
resistance of tribes as fierce and as tenacious as those which so long 
delayed the progress of conquest in north-western Spain and in 
Bosnia. It was necessary to pierce the land with roads and cover 
it with a network of fortified posts, occupying the valleys that lead 
into Wales and separating the mountain masses from each other 1 . 
This was the work of Frontinus in Wales. A single sentence is the 
only record of his activities the subjugation of the Silures in 
South Wales: that would not be enough to justify the unworthy 
suspicion that he had neglected both northern Wales and northern 
England and had failed to consolidate or extend the gains of his 
predecessor. If the biographies of Cerialis and Frontinus were 
ever written, they have not been preserved* 

In 77 or 7 8 a new governor,, Gnu Julius Agricola, came to Britain, 
a province with which he was already familiar from his service as 
a military tribune and as a legionary legate 2 . Though it was late 
in the year, Agricola at once took the field, and crushed the Ordo- 

1 Among Flavian forts in Wales may be mentioned Caerhun* Caersws 
and Brecon, Originally earth-forts, they seem to have been refaccd in stone 
in the time of Trajan, when several new forts were also built, for example 
Gellygaer. The legionary camp at Cacrlcon is an early Flavian foundation, 
at first with a rampart of clay and timber* 

2 It cannot be ascertained whether Agricola's term of office began in 77 
or in 78, A complete summary of arguments that have been used will be 
found in Tacitus, Agric^ edd. Furneaux and Anderson, App. i, pp* 16673* 
The present writer has a preference for the year 78, 


vices in North Wales. This was not all. A surprise attack delivered 
into his hands the island of Mona, the haunt of Druids. 

The next year saw Agricola active in the north. By force and 
conciliation he induced a number of tribes that had hitherto main- 
tained their independence to surrender hostages and endure forts 
and garrisons. The Romans in their conquests followed methods 
of classic simplicity. They first seized the most important lines of 
communication, so as to cut off the more rugged and inaccessible 
parts of a country which, being thus isolated and encircled, could 
subsequently be reduced with less trouble. The tribes which so 
readily submitted to Agricola in the course of a single year are not 
described as strangers to the Romans : they were evidently members 
of the Brigantian confederacy which Cerialis had shattered, 
Cerialis had transferred the camp of the legion IX Hispana from 
Lincoln to York. Unless he had already carried the arms of Rome 
far to the north, the events that follow are difficult to explain. In 
the next year (his third campaign) Agricola launches an invasion 
of Scotland. On any other hypothesis this would be foreign to his 
native caution and to the policy of which he was the heir and 
instrument. Cerialis' work must have been well done 1 . 

Between the Solway Firth and the mouth of the Tyne, the 
distance from sea to sea narrows to some sixty miles, and the 
valleys of the Irthing and the Tyne make a gap between the hill- 
country to the north and to the south of paramount strategic 
importance. Across this neck of land extends a perplexing variety 
of Roman frontier works, the wall of Hadrian, the flat-bottomed 
ditch erroneously called the Vallum, and a little to the south and 
apparently only from Carlisle to Corbridge a Roman road, the 
Stanegate. Of the date and purpose of this road, there is no 
definite evidence. Its construction has commonly been attributed 
to Agricola; and it is evident that to seize this line and provide it with 
a chain of forts must have been an integral part of the subjugation 
of northern England. The wall of Hadrian itself is not merely a 
defensive structure designed to ward off invaders from Scotland : 
one of its functions was to facilitate the control of the turbulent 
and ever-resurgent Brigantians (see e.g. below, p. 336). This being 
so, the line from Corbridge westwards to Carlisle might have been 

17, magnamque Brtgantum fart em aut victoria arnplexus est aut 
hello. This is not likely to be an exaggeration on the contrary, given the 
character of the Agricola. As Tacitus has mentioned no tribe in. northern 
England, or, for that matter, in southern Scotland, other than and distinct 
from the Brigantes, the northward extension both of the Brigantes and of 
the conquests of Cerialis is difficult to determine. 


occupied even earlier than Agricola 1 ; and the operations of 
Agricola's second campaign will have consisted in the reduction 
of peoples farther south which had already been isolated perhaps 
in Cumberland and Westmorland. Even here he was probably 
content to secure a route northwards from Lancashire by way of 
Penrith to Carlisle, thus encircling the district of the Lakes. Roads 
from south to north, however 5 were not enough, and Agricola 
might be given the credit for building some, but not all, of the roads 
that pierced the Pennine Chain from east to west the most 
important were those that used the Aire Gap and the Gap of 
Stainmore (the latter providing the line of communication between 
York and Carlisle). But here as elsewhere the predecessors of 
Agricola must not be defrauded. 

Whether or no Agricola was the first to occupy the line of the 
Stanegate, here was a point at which the northward advance of the 
Romans might have stopped and a frontier might have been found, 
though Tacitus gives no hint of that possibility. But Agricola 
himself or the men who advised the Emperor in the affairs of 
Britain had decided otherwise, 

In the third year Agricola opened up new country. His columns 
swept northwards and spread devastation as far as an estuary called 
the Tanaus ; the following season he spent in securing his hold on 
the territory he had traversed in the previous year* To this end he 
established a chain of forts across the narrow isthmus between 
Clota and Bodotria (the Clyde and the Forth)* If it were certain 
that Tacitus wrote with a clear conception of the operations which 
he describes it might appear that the mysterious estuary of Tanaus 
should be either identical with Clota or Bodotria, or at least not far 
distant from them* Much short of them it cannot be- it may 
rather even He beyond them, for the line which Agricola drew in 
order to consolidate his gains need not be as far to the north as the 
farthest point that his scouts and raiders had reached the year 
before 2 . 

The advanced base which Agricola used for the invasion of 

1 Bushe-Fox believed that some of the pottery from Carlisle was prc- 
Agricolan (Archaeologia 9 LXIV, 191213, p* 311); c, however, Haverneld 
and Atkinson, Cumberland and West* Trans, xvn, 1916-17, pp. 235-50. 

2 dgric. 22, ttrtius expeditionum annu$ novas gentes aperuit, vwtfatis usque 
ad Tanaum (aastuario nomm est) natiombus* The possibility that the Tanaus 
was the Tay has been summarily rejected by many critics on the ground 
that the Tay lies too far to the north (Anderson, Tacitus, Affricate* p. Ivi 
and p. 1 06). Yet it is difficult to find a suitable estuary south of Clota and 


Scotland appears to have been Corbridge on the Tyne, from which 
a Roman road (the continuation of Dere Street) runs northwards, 
accompanied in its course by the visible relics of many camps and 
forts, by Risingham, High Rochester and Chew Green (Tvtakendon) 
across the Cheviots to the important position of Newstead near 
Melrose in the fertile valley of the Tweed. From Newstead there 
was a choice of routes, northwards across the Lammermuir Hills 
to Inveresk on the Firth of Forth, a few miles east of Edinburgh; 
or westwards up the Tweed past the small fort of Lyne (near 
Peebles) to the valley of the Clyde, But there was another route, 
to the west, by which troops could have been moved forward from 
the line of the Solway and the Tyne the valley of the Clyde could 
be reached from Carlisle through Annandale. To deny Agricola's 
use of it would be rash; for he seems to have been able to convey 
a large Roman army far into Scotland. 

It is only in the east, however, that there are certain traces of 
the passage of Agricola. At Cap puck some seven miles south-east 
of Newstead a tiny fort of earth has yielded early pottery. Newstead 
itself provides full evidence of repeated occupations and repeated 
rebuildings the history of this site appears to fall into five periods 
of which three are earlier than the Antonine occupation of Scotland. 
The earliest fort was made of earth and, from its dimensions, was 
perhaps a winter camp for several auxiliary regiments. Of the 
forts constructed by Agricola across the isthmus between the Clyde 
and the Forth in his fourth campaign, many have been identified 
as small temporary posts near or beneath some of the stations of 
the Wall of Antoninus. They appear soon to have been evacuated 
but not because Scotland was abandoned. On the contrary, the 
purpose of these forts was temporary and had already been served 
when Agricola decided to advance yet farther to the north. 

The occupation of the isthmus between the Clyde and the Forth 
severed the south from the north and banished, as it were, the 
enemies of Rome into another island : to the south-west, however, 
extended a vast region as yet untouched, wild, barren and difficult 
of access, and subsequently neglected by the Romans in the period 
of the Antonine occupation of southern Scotland, though it was 
a danger, because it admitted invaders from Ireland. Yet these 
unpromising tracts were not entirely devoid of population in a 
later age they harboured the savage Attacotti, suspected of canni- 
balism. Whether or not Agricola was to carry his conquest of the 
island yet farther, it was perhaps time for him now to satisfy his 
curiosity about the region which his advance had isolated, If this 
was indeed the purpose of the fifth campaign, the vagueness of 


Tacitus does not permit it to be affirmed. Agricola made an 
expedition by sea. He encountered and defeated tribes hitherto 
unknown ; he also marshalled troops on that part of the coast of 
Britain that looks towards Ireland. 

That island had troubles of its own. An Irish prince took refuge 
with Agricola, the pretext for an intervention to which, so a san- 
guine observer might be tempted to believe, the natives would fall 
an easy prey. But Agricola did not choose, or was not permitted, 
to cross the narrow seas. In the years of his retirement at Rome he 
was often heard to say that a single legion supported by a few 
auxiliary regiments would have sufficed for the conquest and the 
retention of Ireland. It will be recalled that a similar estimate had 
once been entertained of the ease of a conquest of Britain 1 -. 

Abandoning the seductive prospect of Ireland, in the sixth year 
Agricola resolved to prosecute his conquests among the peoples 
beyond the Firth of Forth. They gathered in force, and after 
assaults on some of the Roman fortified posts hung about the flank 
of the army, which marched in three columns of unequal strength, 
After a vain attack upon the weakest of these, the Caledonians 
broke and fled. Had they not been able to escape to the protection 
of their woods and marshes, the Roman victory, so Tacitus asserts^ 
would have meant the end of the whole war ; the troops of Agricola 
were all inspired with a new confidence. In spite of this favourable 
conjuncture, the operations of the year were not prosecuted. 

The actions which are described as Roman victories do not 
always appear to have exercised a depressing influence upon their 
barbarian adversaries. No more dismayed than the warriors of 
Armmius after one of the memorable exploits of Germanicus, the 
Caledonians employed this respite to redouble their efforts, When 
Agricola again marched forth in the next year, the tribes had 
mustered under the command of a chieftain called Calgacus. They 
took up their station at the Mons Graupius, Here the armies met. 
After each side had been treated to one of those moral and patriotic 
discourses which generals or at least historians regarded as the 
indispensable preliminary to action, the clash came. The Cale- 
donians were routed after sharp fighting. Agricola had been 
fortunate in his adversaries. The presence of a 'common danger 
induced the Caledonian tribes to compose their differences and 
combine their levies : had their experience of warfare against the 
Romans not been recent and superficial, they would have known 
that a pitched battle is not the most effective method of frustrating 
the advance of an army* Instead of reserving their efforts for 

1 Strabo xv f 


guerrilla warfare in difficult country, for raids and surprise attacks 
on camps and convoys until winter or the shortage of food com- 
pelled the Romans to retreat, the Caledonians vainly spent their 
valour in a single disastrous battle. 

The situation of the Mons Graupius must remain unknown, it 
is true : but the extent of Agricola's advance is sufficiently indicated 
by the existence of a large fortified post at Inchtuthill on the Tay, 
a dozen miles north of Perth, facing the gate of the Highlands 
apparently the winter quarters for an army or a part of an army 1 . 
It may well have been occupied in the year before this campaign : 
and it was held subsequently. It is therefore by no means improb- 
able that Agricola reached the neighbourhood of Aberdeen, for 
after the battle he marched farther and received hostages from 
a tribe called the Boresti. Dispatching the fleet on a voyage of 
exploration, Agricola now led his army back slowly towards 
winter quarters. 

Such was the end of the seventh campaign (83 or 84). Agricola 
had now been in Britain for six years and a few months, a long term : 
he could hardly expect to have his governorship extended in- 
definitely. If the reports which Agricola sent to Rome conveyed 
the impression that the victory of the Mons Graupius was decisive 
and final, he had the less ground for surprise at being superseded. 
His work was done. This more than an emperor's jealousy of 
military success too great for a subject, or the needs of the Empire 
on another frontier determined his recall 2 . His services did not 
lack due recognition. On the motion of Domitian the Senate had 
voted Agricola the ornamenta triumphalia* He was still young 
not over forty-four : and he may have hoped when he returned to 
Rome that further distinctions and further service might not be 
denied him : but the State had other generals, and the attitude of 
Domitian, even if not malevolent, was lacking in enthusiasm for 
the merit and talents of the conqueror of Britain. And so Agricola 
subsided into private life. 

While Agricola was in Britain, the organization of the German 
frontier had been carried decisively forward by a war against the 
Chatti: and Domitian had celebrated late in 83 a triumph, the 

1 Cf. Sir G. Macdonald, *The Agricolan Occupation of North Britain/ 
J.R.S. ix, 1919, pp. in sqq. 

2 It is true that the situation on the Danube may have appeared threatening 
earlier than A.D. 85 (see below, p. 169). A legion, II Adiutrix, was sub- 
sequently withdrawn from Britain (p. 171). For a weakening of the army 
of Britain in A.r. 83, while Agricola was still prosecuting his campaigns, 
c Dessau 1020, 9200 (p. 163). 


derisory nature of which was before long to be revealed (so Tacitus 
affirms) when Agricola's glorious victory at the Mons Graiiplus 

evoked the damaging comparison 1 , 


The disturbances which the crisis of the year 69 had called forth 
did not long survive the triumph of the Flavian cause. The 
ignominious collapse of the * Imperium Galliarum* was followed, 
not without serious fighting, by the termination of the Batavian War 
in the late autumn of A.D. 70. What the system of defence on the 
Lower Rhine now required was repair and re-organization: and 
so the composition, but not the size or function of the army was 
modified. The repentant Batavians returned to their old allegiance 
on the old terms. The Frisii, as before, were accessible to Roman 
influence. It was not intended, here or elsewhere, that the power 
of Rome should stop short at the frontier which she had chosen 
and fortified : and it might further be conjectured that the Tencteri 
and the Uslpi 3 whose lands extended along the right hank of 
the Rhine from the Ruhr to the Lahiiy showed themselves amen- 

Drastic measures were taken against the Bructcri, a confedera- 
tion, who dwelt to the north of the Tencteri between the Lippe 
and the Ems. They had embraced the enterprises of Civilis with 
alacrity and with effect the veneration in which their priestess 
Veleda was widely held was a powerful force on the side of the 
insurgents. Whether the Romans had dispatched punitive expedi- 
tions beyond the Rhine immediately after the end of the Batavian 
War is not known, but at some time in the years 75 7 8 RutiHus 
Gallicus defeated the Bructeri and secured the person of Veleda 2 , 
This did not reduce them to acquiescence* At a later date (which 
cannot more closely be determined) another governor of .Lower 
Germany, Vestricius Spurinna^ entered the territory of the Bructeri, 
and by the mere threat of war compelled them to take back a king 
whom they had driven out 3 . It may be to another aspect of the 
same incident that Tacitus is referring when he describes how in 
the presence of a Roman army and without the shedding of Roman 
blood,, sixty thousand of the Bructeri were massacred by a coalition 

1 For the date of Domitian's triumph, see below, p. 164. This suggests 
that the seventh and last campaign of Agrlcola belongs to 84 rather than 
to 83, 

2 , Statius, Silv. r, 4, 88-93 Dessau 9052 (a diploma of 15 April, 78). 

8 Pliny, Ep, n, 7, 2, 


of the neighbouring peoples 1 . It is evident that imperial policy 
had been pursuing its traditional methods with skill and with 

The line of the Rhine was guarded as before, but more firmly. 
Hitherto the forts occupied by the auxilia had been built of earth, 
strengthened with timber. A line of stone forts was now constructed, 
garrisoned by a new series of regiments, drawn from other pro- 
vinces. Four new legions were brought to Lower Germany: and 
their camps too were built in stone. A new position, Noviomagus 
(Nymwegen), watching the island of the Batavians, was chosen for 
a legion and garrisoned by X Gemina : and the old double camp 
of Vetera was replaced by a stone fortress for one legion, XXII 
Primigenia. The other two legions, VI Victrix and XXI Rapax, 
occupied Novaesium and Bonna. 

The army of Upper Germany likewise numbered four legions. 
I Adiutrix and XIV Gemina built for themselves a new stone 
fortress at Moguntiacum, Argentorate was occupied by VIII 
Augusta, Vindonissa by XI Claudia. But the forts of the auxiliary 
regiments southwards from Mainz at least were not rebuilt in 
stone. These positions were soon abandoned and the garrisons 
were transferred to the right bank of the Rhine. 

The history of the advance of the Roman frontier in Germany 
beyond the Rhine and the Danube cannot be recovered, even in 
outline, from the fragments that have survived of literary records 2 . 
The details of the Roman military occupation beyond the Rhine 
have been won and co-ordinated by the thorough and continuous 
archaeological investigation of the last fifty years 3 . The evidence 

1 Germ. 33. The date of this episode or of these episodes baffles 
enquiry. Spurinna was voted a statua triumphalis on the motion of the 
emperor, probably Nerva, Pliny, Ep. u, 7, i. But his age he was over 
seventy and other reasons make it difficult to believe that he was governor 
of Lower Germany in 97. That command probably belongs to an earlier 

2 For example, the campaign of Cornelius Clemens is nowhere recorded, 
and Dio (LXVII, 4, i) does not mention the Chatti by name. The testimony 
of Frontinus, however, a soldier and an eye-witness of Dornitian's war, is 
invaluable (Strat. i, i, 85 3, 103 n, 3, 235 II, 7). The more important 
pieces of evidence, including inscriptions, will be cited where relevant. 

3 The results of the exploration of the frontier by the Limes-Kommission 
have been published in the monumental work Der Obergermanisch-ratische 
Limes des Romerreiches*(O.R.L.} (not yet complete). Section A is devoted 
to the description of the different sections of the frontier, Section B to the 
forts. For the interpretation, cf. above all E. Fabricius, P.W., s.v. Limes. 
For the military occupation of south-west Germany short of the line of the 
ultimate frontier, cf. F* Hertlein, Die Romer in Wurttemberg* i in. 


consists of inscriptions, stamped tiles of legions and auxiliary regi- 
ments, coins and pottery and, not least, the forts themselves, by 
reason of their situation and structure. This evidence varies enor- 
mously in extent and character from region to region : sometimes 
abundant and convergent, as in the "Wetterau 1 , sometimes scanty, 
as on the line of the Neckar and in the Raetian sector (see below, 
p. 1 66 J^.)* History will not always be the loser if it prefers a 
generously wide margin to a date that is delusively definite. 

So much for the methods of study. It remains to summarize 
the results. Across the Rhine from Moguntiacum the Mattiaci 
between the Taunus and the mouth of the Main appear to have 
remained in amicable dependence ever since the days of Augustus 
down to A.D. 69, when they yielded to the temptation of attacking 
Moguntiacum in alliance with the Chatti and the UsipL After 
this brief interlude they returned to their allegiance. New forts 
of earth were established in this territory at Wiesbaden (Aquae 
Mattiacae) and at Hofheim, a few miles farther east* Southwards 
from Moguntiacum after a brief occupation such as is attested at 
Rheingonheim in the Palatinate opposite the old Neckar, the 
auxiliary regiments south of Mainz were transferred early in the 
reign of Vespasian from the left to the right bank of the Rhine, 
For Rheingonheim, which had probably housed a garrison of two 
regiments, were substituted forts at JLadenburg (JLopodunum) and 
at Neuenheim, on the Lower Neckar near Heidelberg 2 . To the 
north, between the Neckar and the Main, forts may have been 
established at Gross Gerau and Gernsheim 3 , but there is no suffi- 
cient evidence : south of the Neckar, however, Baden-Baden was 
occupied, but the sites of most of the other new forts, like their 
predecessors on the left bank of the Rhine, are still a matter for 

In the extreme south-west of Germany, however, in the angle 
between the Upper Rhine and the sources of the Danube, the 
Roman advance is attested by more definite evidence and presents 
more decisive features, Across the Schwarzwald a road was con- 
structed 4 ,, running south-eastwards up the valley of the Kiuzig to 

1 See below, p. 164 and p, 175* 

2 F. Sprater, Die Pfalx unter den R.omern> I* p. 30. 

3 Fabricius, of. cit. col. 586, 

4 The milestone from Offenburg in the valley of the KLinzig (Dessau 
5832) is unfortunately incomplete in its dating (c. 73-4) and in its indication 
of direction, iter de\rectum ab Argi]ntQrate in JK\aetiam ?"]* For in R[ftetiam\> 
Dornaszewski suggested in r[ipam Dottuvii] (fPtstdtuttth* Ztitschr. xxx, 
1902^ p* 201). 


Rottweil (Arae Flaviae), and thence continued to the bank of the 
Danube near Tuttlingen or Lalz. In this way Rottweil was reached 
from the direction of the legionary camp of Argentorate. The 
advance had probably been a converging one, for another road 
came to Rottweil from the south, from Vindonissa by way of 
Schleitheim and Hiifingen. On the line of the road across the 
Schwarzwald forts were built at Offenburg, Waldmossingen and 
Rottweil : and It was further protected by posts at Sulz to the north 
and at Geislingen to the east. 

The military operations of which this modest advance was the 
permanent but perhaps not the only result may be dated to the 
years 734. The governor of Upper Germany, Cn. Pinarius 
Cornelius Clemens, received the ornamenta triumphalia and two 
senators who held in succession the command over the auxiliary 
forces were also decorated 1 . Moreover, a fifth legion appears at 
this time to have been attached to the army of Upper Germany 2 , 
None the less, despite this imposing array, despite the decorations 
for service in the field, the campaign may have been more a display 
than an exertion of force. Numbers of troops would be needed, 
not merely to overawe opposition, but to provide the labour for 
roads and forts* In all the wide expanse of territory bounded by 
the Rhine and the Danube and extending north-eastwards to the 
lands of the Chatti and the Hermunduri there does not appear to 
have been a single large atid formidable fighting tribe ; the popu- 
lation by no means as scanty as ancient accounts have been taken 
to imply was mixed in origin, the relic of wars and migrations, 
and predominantly Celtic in civilization (see above, chap. n). 

This region does not enter into the history of the Augustan wars 
of conquest, and subsequently a strong and organized system of 
defence would have been superfluous. A reason for the advance 
will perhaps be discovered in the need for a shorter route of com- 
munication between the armies of the Rhine and the Danube 
and thence, ultimately, an economy in troops. How far Vespasian 
intended the advance in southern Germany to proceed is unknown 
before the end of his reign, several of the Raetian forts may have 
been transferred to the northern bank of the Danube (see below, 
p. 1 66). Be that as it may, the intervention of Domitian was 
vigorous and eventful. 

1 Dessau 997, c 1992 (a diploma of 21 May, 74); 9901. 

2 VII Gemina, on its way back from Pannonia to Spain: Dessau 27 29 
(c 9052)5 CJ.L. xin, 11542. Also tiles from Rheinzabern, CJ.L, xin, 
12167 *~ 8 - 

C.A.H. XI 



It did not require the fate of Nero to remind Domitian that his 
own security and the peace of the world demanded at the very least 
that an emperor should know and be known by his troops. In the 
course of A.D. 83, within two years of his accession, he came to 
Gaul under pretext of holding a census and suddenly appeared 
on the Rhine. The Chatti were already in arms : it was his design 
to forestall attack and to crush that powerful tribe 1 . 

On the west and south towards the Rhine and the Main their 
territory in Hessen-Nassau stretched as far as did the Hercynian 
forest the name given at one time or another in antiquity to all 
or to almost any part of the forests of Central Europe, To the north 
their neighbours were the Cherusci, now fallen from their pride 
and reduced to dependence on Rome, to the south-east the 
Hermunduri of Franconia and Thuringia who, since their estab- 
lishment in those regions by Domitius Ahenobarbus, had enjoyed 
and had repaid the favour which Rome extended to them* Here 
were allies against the Chatti : but it is not known whether Domitian 
commanded the active co-operation as well as the good will of the 
Cherusci or the Hermunduri when he proceeded against their 
enemies. Nothing is recorded save that, perhaps some years later, 
Domitian supported, though only , with money, a king of the 
Cherusci whose explusion the Chatti had secured and whose return 
they sought to frustrate 2 . 

The triumph "which Domitian celebrated over the Chatti was 
treated with derision, A tale once told of Gaius 3 , a tale of slaves with 
dyed hair masquerading as German captives, was seasonably 
revived, and the battle of the Mons Graupius soon came to sharpen 
the contrast between real and spurious victories. It was not lilcely 
that Domitian's war would be signalized by any of those grandiose 
and sometimes futile battles, dear to a historian with a taste for the 
dramatic. The formidable Chatti, imitators of Roman discipline, 
and equipped, when they marched to war, with tools and supplies 4 , 
were far too intelligent to be lured into a pitched battle. 

The character of the Chatti and the nature of their land dictated 
the strategy that Domitian employed against them. Over a front 
of a hundred and twenty miles he drove military roads deep into 
the broken and wooded country that hitherto had secured them 

1 Frontinus, Strat. i, I, 8* 2 Dio LXVII, 5, i. 

3 See vol. x, p. 660, 4 Cf. Tacitus, Germ. 30. 


immunity and thus opened access to their fortresses 1 * These were 
massive structures with ramparts of stone and timber, after the 
Gallic fashion, crowning the hilltops. A cluster of native hill-forts 
occupying spurs of the Taunus is to be seen not far south of the 
line which the Roman frontier subsequently followed; but whether 
any of them were occupied by the Chatti at this time is not known. 
Farther to the north, their land was dotted thickly with fortresses, 
such as the imposing Dtinsberg near Giessen, or the Altenburg 
in the direction of Cassel 2 . The campaign of Domitian must 
have embraced much more than the territory that was to be an- 
nexed if that annexation were to be effective, permanent and secure. 
Operations conceived on so large a scale and carried out with 
such thoroughness demanded the employment of many columns 
of troops. About the auxiUa, details of a great concentration are 
lacking: but there is some evidence for the legions. It was about 
this time that Domitian raised a new legion, I Minervia: this he 
dispatched to the camp of Bonna in Lower Germany, withdrawing 
thence XXI Rapax for service against the Chatti. So for a time 
there were five legions in the army of Upper Germany. But not 
for long the creation of I Minervia would liberate a German 
legion for service elsewhere, and I Adiutrix soon departed from 
the Rhine 3 : XXI Rapax took its place beside XIV Gemina in the 
camp of Moguntiacum. From Britain Domitian withdrew vexilla- 
tiones of the four legions of that province 4 . These troops fought in 
the war under the command of their own tribunes of senatorial 
rank. They appear to have been retained for a time on the Continent. 
Velius Rufus (see above, pp. 140, 149) emerges into history again, 
between 83 and 85, as the commander of a force composed of 
vexillationes of nine legions 5 the four from Britain and the five 
of Upper Germany. Tiles of most of these detachments have been 
discovered at Mirebeau-sur-B&ze (near Dijon) in the territory of 

1 Frontinus, Sir at. i, 3, 10; against this interpretation see O.R.L. A, 
Strecke 3, p. 45. 

2 The Altenburg has been identified with Mattium, the capital of the 
Chatti, cf. H. Hofmeister, Die Chatten, I: Mattium. Die Altenburg bei 

3 Perhaps in 85-6 for the Dacian War (E. Ritterling, P.W., s.v. Legio, 
col. 1388), or perhaps even earlier: cf. further p. 171, n. 4. 

4 Only IX Hispana is directly attested, Dessau 1025, cf., however, 9200. 

5 Dessau 9200, . . .praef. wxtllariorum leg. nil I: I Adiut. y II Jldiut., 
11 Jug., PHI Jug. y PHI! Hisp., Xim Gem., XX Vlc. y XXI Rapac. 
The name of the Upper German legion XI Claudia has been accidentally 
omitted. For the date of this command, cf. E. Ritterling, Jahreshefte, vn, 
1904, Beiblatt cols. 23 sqq. 


the Lingones 1 : and. Domltian may have had his reasons for tem- 
porarily establishing a field-army under a soldier of tried worth 
and fidelity at this important strategic position. Yet even so^ Velhis 
Rufus may have employed his army elsewhere operations de- 
signed to reinforce the security of the frontier of Lower Germany 
may well have been carried out in 83 or 84 as a complement to the 
crushing of the ChattL 

In the meantime Domitian had returned to Rome, conscious 
that he had earned the title of Germanicus which he assumed and 
the triumph which he celebrated shortly before the end of the 
year Sj 2 . Moreover by his presence with the armies and in the 
field he had attached the soldiers to his person. Their spontaneous 
loyalty he rewarded and confirmed by raising their pay (p 133). 

Vigorous measures were taken for controlling the Chatti in the 
future. Along the crest of the High Taunus, north-westwards to 
the mouth of the Lahn and eastwards in a great sweep enclosing 
the region of the Wetterau as far as the Main in the vicinity of 
Hanau a chain of patrols was established. Wooden watch-towers 
were erected from four to seven hundred yards apart 3 and here and 
there 3 on or near the sites of the stone forts of Hadrian's day, tiny 
earth encampments of about seventy yards square, A salient is weak 
only if it is weakly held. In the plain below, between the Taunus 
and the Main, forts (at first of earth and timber) for cohorts and 
alae were established, at Wiesbaden, Hofheim, Heddernheim, 
Okarben and Friedberg, probably also at Hochst and at Frankfort. 
The eastern flank of this defensive system was secured by a stone 
fort at Kesselstadt (i^ear Hanau) of unusual size, nearly four 
hundred yards square 3 : it was designed either to hold a legion 
(there was temporarily an additional legion in the army of Upper 
Germany) or a small army of auxiliary regiments. A network of 
roads linked these forts with each other and with positions on the 
outer line of patrols. If the Chatti came again, their approach 
would be at once detected and their advance checked by a rapid 
concentration of auxiliary troops, supported, in the last resort, by 
the two legions from Mainz. It is not impossible that to these 
defences was added the lesser security of a treaty (p. 174)- 

1 CJ.L. xin, I2539 1 - 6 , especially 12539* = Dessau 2285, uexiL lerionum 
I Fill XI Xllll XXL 

2 Between 9 June 83 and 3 Sept. 84 Domitian received four fresh saluta- 
tions (IV VII, cf. C.LL. in, pp. 19623). Britain, however, may claim 
one, or two, of these, and Mauretania must not be forgotten (p. 149), The 
triumph was probably celebrated, or at least voted, late in 83, for the cognomen 
Germanicus appears on hardly any of the coins of 83, but upon most of 84* 

3 Q.R.L. B 24; G. Wolff, Du mdliche WetUrau, p. 59. 


In this way Domitian designed and created a new frontier beyond 
the Rhine between the Lahn and the Main. Of the territory so 
unequivocally claimed and so firmly grasped by Rome 5 little or 
none appears to have belonged originally to the Chatti. Even when 
they lay beyond the frontier of the Empire the friendly Mattiaci 
had been subject to Roman influence and control; their territory 
was now definitely annexed. The Usipi, however, to the north-west 
of the Mattiaci, were probably still outside the Empire. The 
Mattiaci were not the only native inhabitants of the land enclosed 
by Domitian's frontier. The region of the Wetterau had never been 
covered by forest : from neolithic times onwards its rich loess soil 
had supported a dense agricultural population, ever at the mercy 
of a stronger power. It might be conjectured that the Roman 
annexation was not unwelcome, bringing as it did protection from 
the raids and the exactions of the warlike Chatti. A tribe, the name 
of which cannot be identified, received compensation in money 
from Domitian when he erected forts in their territory 1 . 

Fertile land was thus acquired. Though economic considerations 
may have determined, here and elsewhere, the extent of the Roman 
annexations, they do not alone explain the purpose of those 
annexations. The region lying between Mainz and Hanau is of 
unique strategic importance, for so many routes of communication 
meet and cross in it* Northwards the Hessian Gap between 
Taunus and Vogelsberg provides the easiest approach to the Weser 
and to the Elbe and conversely the easiest way by which a German 
invasion might reach the Rhine. The occupation of the Wetterau 
by a force based on Mainz practically cuts off North from South 
Germany. The significance and purpose of Domitian 's measures 
is at once apparent. He pushed away from the Rhine the only 
formidable tribe in the neighbourhood of the frontier, and by 
creating beyond the Rhine an enlarged fortified zone to repel or 
control the Chatti, provided for the security of the whole frontier 
to the south. It is no accident that the crushing of the Chatti was 
soon followed by an advance in the south which won for Rome the 
valley of the Neckar and a still shorter line of communications 
between the armies of the Rhine and the Danube, roughly the line 

In the early years of Vespasian the campaign of Gnu Pinarius 
Cornelius Clemens had brought the Romans to Rottweil, not far 
from the sources of the Neckar. The advance made by Domitian 

1 Frontinus, Strat* ir, n, 7, infinlbus CuUorum [Ubiorum, Modius]: the 
chapter bears the heading De dubiorum animis in fide retinendis and the 
reading may be dubiorum* 


did not proceed north-eastwards from Rottweil down the Neckar, 
but was a converging movement, from the plain of the Rhine 
eastwards to the middle course of the Neckar and from the Danube 
northwards and north-eastwards. For a time the two lines of forts, 
the German and the Raetian ? seem to have overlapped in the south- 
wests even when in the last years of Domitian the easternmost forts 
of the Raetian line had been pushed forward almost to the ultimate 
line of the frontier. So much may be said of the advance in general. 
The details are mostly obscure. 

In the first place^ Raetia. The absence of a legionary garrison had 
an unhappy effect^ not only upon the civilization of that province, 
but also upon the amount and quality of the historical and archaeo- 
logical evidence. Nor is the material provided by the auxiliary forts 
of Raetia adequate to permit very close darings. The Danubian 
frontier of Raetia had long been neglected by the Roman govern- 
ment. Claudius posted forts along the southern bank of the 
Danube, Vespasian continued the work. Activity can be traced in 
the years 788 1 . Now forts were constructed at Gtlnzburg, a little 
east of Ulm, and at Eining, some twenty miles south-west of 
Regensburg 1 . This might have been thought to preclude any 
intention of an advance north of the Danube. Yet in A.D. 80 a fort 
appears beyond the Danube at KOsching, about fifteen miles to the 
west of Eining 2 . This fort can hardly have stood alone it is 
probably a link in a chain of forts extending westwards a few miles 
beyond the northern bank of the Danube to Faimingen 3 , This 
advance in the eastern sector of the Raetian forts might indeed be 
explained by local conditions the southern bank of the river, 
marshy for a long stretch, does not provide a good line of lateral 
communication. In any event, it was not long before a more 
decisive step was taken in the western sector of the frontier of 
Raetia between Faimingen and the most easterly of the forts 
(GeislingenJ erected after the campaign of 724. Between the 
Danube and the upper reaches of the Neckar where that river runs 
parallel with the Danube extends a bare treeless plateau, rising 
gently from the Danube but descending abruptly to the Neckar 
the Rauhe Alb> or Swabian Jura. Along the Alb, at points com- 
manding the routes across it, runs a chain of forts> Lautlingen, 
Burladingen, Gomadingen, Donnstetten, Urspring. Such is the 

1 Vollmer> Imcr. Bav, Rom. 196, 331. 2 Ib 257, 

s For this conjectural line efforts, c O,R,L. B 66 c (Faimingen), p, 275 
F. Winkclmann, R-G. K. Berkht, xi, p. 29 sq. For the possibility of an 
earlier dating, c W. Barthel, RG. K. Bericht 9 vi, p 175* 


Alb-Limes 1 . How It was prolonged eastward from Urspring is 
uncertain. Perhaps at first by way of Heidenheim to Faimingen 
and the hypothetical line of east-Raetian forts beyond the Danube 
as far east as Kosching : perhaps rather by a more northerly line, 
which extended almost as far to the north as the Raetian frontier 
in its ultimate form. This latter advance,, embracing the forts 
Oberdorf, Munningen, Gnotzheim and Weissenburg, had been 
carried out before the end of Domitian's reign 2 ; and it might even 
be contemporary with the Alb-Limes 3 , which has been dated 
c* A.D. 85. The remains from the forts of the Alb-Limes are de- 
plorably scanty. There are no inscriptions : the pottery from one 
of them, Burladingen, has suggested a date for its origin approxi- 
mately five years earlier than Cannstatt on the Neckar. 

As for the forts along the Neckar from Wimpfen southwards to 
Cannstatt and Kongen, the establishment of which was the com- 
plement of the moving forward of the Raetian forts, here too the 
evidence is by no means abundant. From the pottery, Cannstatt 
has been dated c. A.D, go 4 . Yet, the evidence being what it is, a 
slightly earlier date in each case might not be excluded, .85 for 
Cannstatt and .80 for Burladingen 5 . Indeed, as both series of 
'forts, the Alb-Limes and the positions on the Neckar, seem to 
be parts of the same process, a converging movement from the 
Rhine and from the Danube, they might be closely connected in 
time as well as in design. This advance in the south was not merely 
a sequel but a consequence of Domitian's victorious war against 
the Chatti and might therefore be presumed to have followed after 
no long interval. But the date affects only the speed at which the 
process was carried out, not the purpose, the methods or the result. 

The Roman occupation of these territories proceeded quietly 
and peacefully : it had been carried a stage forward by the end of 
the reign of Domitian when the building of a chain of forts north- 
wards from Wimpfen across the Odenwald to the Main established 
a junction with the southern end of Domitian's frontier 6 . In the 

1 On the Alb-Limes, cf. especially W. Barthel, R-G. K. Bericht, vi, 
pp. 176 sqq.) F. Hertlein, Die Romer in Wurttemberg, I, pp. 38 sqq.\ 
G. Bersu, Germania, i, 1917, pp. in sqq. (Burladingen); Wurtt '-ember gische 
Studien, 1926, pp. 177 sqq. (Lautlingen). 

2 E. Fabricius, O.R.L. A, Strecke 13, p. 18. 

3 For this theory, cf. Fabricius, he. czt. y and P.W.> s.v. Limes, col. 607 sq. 

4 P. Goessler, Vor- und Friihgesch. von Stuttgart-Gannstatt 3 p. 37. 

6 Cf. R. Rau, Wurttembergische Geschichtsblatter, 1932, pp. 47 sqq. ; against 
this view, cf. O.R.L. A, Strecke n, p. 35. 

6 For the dating of the Odenwald-L/imes, cf. Fabricius, P W. 9 s.v. Limes, 
col. 590 sq*\ O.R.L, A, Strecke 10, pp. 33-6. 


meantime,, however, on another frontier the Empire had been 
subjected to the vicissitudes of a long and arduous contest. 


In the course of A.D. 85 the Dacians crossed the Danube and 
harried the province of Moesia, The governor, Oppius Sabinus, 
was slain in battle, forts and their garrisons were overwhelmed: 
the camps of the legions, however, were successfully defended. 
Summoning reinforcements from different provinces, Domitian 
marched at once with the Guard and its prefect, Cornelius Fuscus, 
to the seat of war 1 . 

After more than a century of weakness and disunion, the tribes 
of the Dacians had come together again and formed a kingdom. 
This change is associated with the name of Decebalus. Whether 
his assumption of undivided supremacy in Dacia preceded or 
followed the invasion of Moesia is uncertain, but if that supremacy 
did not originate in the wars against Rome, it was confirmed by 
them 2 . About the causes of the conflict there can only be conjecture. 
The Romans had maintained a claim to suzerainty over many of 
the Transdanubian peoples and had intervened in their affairs 3 . 
The revival of Dacian power may have caused a clash of interests 
among the tribes in Wallachia between the Carpathians and the 
Danube and so have precipitated the crisis of AJX 85, 

Apart from the Dacians, a new and alarming enemy was surging 
against this frontier, Sarmatians from Moldavia and Bessarabia. 
In the winter of 67/8 the Roxolani cut to pieces an auxiliary 
cohort, and in the early spring of 69 they swept over the Danube 
again, Though the Roxolani were defeated, later in the same year 
a host of Dacians assaulted the legionary camps ; nor is it likely 

1 The principal authorities for the Danubian Wars of A,XX 8592 are: 
Dio LXVII, 57; 1C} LXVIXI, 9, 3; Jordanes, Getica, xxxx, 76 M; Suetonius, 
Dom* 6$ Tacitus, Jtgric. 41; Qrosius vn, xo, 345 Eutropius vxx, 23, 4. 
Martial and Statius are sometimes of great value for determining the date 
and the order of operations (e.g. Sito. i y i, 79 $qq.$ m, 3, 168 ^yy.)- ^ or tn * s 
purpose the imperatorial salutations are helpful. Domitian was Imp. xx on 
5 Sept. 85, Imp. xi by 17 Feb. of 86, Imp. xxx by 13 May (G.LL. xxx, pp. 
8557). ? m P' xm an( * I m p- XIV " occur on coins of 86 after 14 Sept. (B.-Af. 
Cat. jR. Emp. xi, p. 320). No salutations were recorded in 87. For the 
later wars, see below, p. 172, n. 15 p. 177. The relevant Inscriptions are 
referred to in the course of the narrative. 

2 A certain Duras retired in his favour (Dio txvxx, 6, i) possibly the 
same as the Diurpaneus or Dorpaneus whom Orosius and Jordanes mention 
as the adversary of Fuscus* 

3 Dessau 986. 


that the Sarmatians neglected this favourable opportunity. But 
Mucianus, on his way to Italy, repelled the Invaders* The respite 
was only temporary. In the next year the Sarmatians defeated and 
killed the governor of Moesia, Fonteius Agrippa. His successor, 
Rubrius Gallus, restored order and sought to prevent the recur- 
rence of these raids by the building of a number of forts 1 , 

What further provision was made by the government of Ves- 
pasian for the defence of the Danubian provinces is not known. 
No great changes appear to have been Introduced 2 : Dalmatia still 
retained a legion, the new IV Flavia felix, stationed at Burnum. 
In Pannonia, XV Apollinaris returned from the East to Carnuntum ; 
the other legion, XIII Gemina, garrisoned Poetovio, as before* The 
army of Moesia, raised to three legions by Claudius, but sub- 
sequently depleted by the demands of the East, was restored to its 
strength in the last year of Nero. Under Vespasian it comprised 
at least three legions, I Italica, V Macedonica and VII Claudia, 
As for their camps, VII Claudia was probably stationed at Vimina- 
cium, some forty miles east from Belgrade, V Macedonica at 
Oescus and I Italica at Novae, both facing the valley of the Aluta. 
A fourth legion and a consequent strengthening of the garrison 
are to be admitted if It is true that the legion V Alaudae survived 
after A.D. 70 (see p, 133, p. 171). 

Before long more troops were sorely needed in Moesia and 
In Pannonia, The literary sources betray no trace of trouble on the 
Danube between A.D. 70 and 85*, which, from the character of those 
sources, is in no way surprising. Signs of unrest can, however, be 
detected. In 8 2 three regiments detached from the army of Upper 
Germany were serving in Moesia 3 : they never after returned to 
the Rhine. The storm had long been gathering: though violent, it 
may not have been unheralded. 

The first task that confronted Domitian and Fuscus was to expel 
the Dacians from Moesia and prevent their return. Only Dacians 
are named as the enemies of Rome in Domitian *s war on the Lower 
Danube: but Sarmatians may well have seized the chance of 
plunder, as in 69/70, even if they were not acting in concert and 
in co-operation with the Dacians. To the measures taken against 
the invaders in the autumn and winter of 8 5 may belong the erection 
of the great vallum of earth in the Dobrudja. Where the Danube 

1 Josephus, Bell. Jud. vn [4, 3], 89-94, 

2 Cf. Ritterling, t*W., s.v. Legio, under the several legions. 

3 Dessau 1995* Moreover, a comparison between three Pannonian dip- 
lomas of 80, 84 and 85 (CJ.L, in, pp. 854, 1963, 855) reveals an increase 
in the garrison of that province. 


changes its course from east to north. It Is barely forty miles distant 
from the Black Sea. Here, running across the low and bare plateau 
of the Dobrudja, roughly from Raova to Constanta, are to be seen 
the remains of no fewer than three parallel lines of defence, more or 
less continuous from the river to the sea, a stone wall, a small 
vallum and a large vallum 1 . The latter is probably of Domitianic 
date; it resembles a line of entrenchments for an army in the face 
of an enemy rather than a fortified frontier : It might be conjectured 
that a Roman army wintered in the Dobrudja and that a part of It 
garrisoned the line of the vallum and Its forts. 

Some twelve miles to the south of the vallum, on the crown of 
the plateau above the village of Adamclisi and visible from afar, 
stand the massive ruins of the trophy which Trajan erected to 
commemorate the conquest of Dacia : close beside the Tropaeum 
Trajani is another monument, an altar bearing the names of soldiers 
who had fallen in battle 2 . Neither the date of the erection of the 
altar, nor the events it recorded, nor the purpose it was designed 
to serve, can be ascertained 3 . Whatever it may be, the choice of the 
site at least is not fortuitous Adamclisi may have witnessed a 
battle (perhaps the defeat of Oppius Sabinus) or the presence of a 
Roman emperor. Adamclisi is a position of some strategic im- 
portance. It possesses a rarity in the Dobrudja a spring of water 
and is the natural headquarters for an army holding the vallum, 

It was not enough to have restored order in a Roman province, 
Domitian resolved to send a punitive expedition across the Danube, 
an operation which is probably to be dated to the early summer 
of 86, Wherever it was that Fuscus bridged the river, his advance 
into Dacia was soon arrested by a shattering defeat. Fuscus fell 
if he still retained the dash and vigour that had contributed to the 

1 C. Schuchhardt, Die sogenannten Trajanswftlle in der Dohrudscha* BerL 
Abh. 19185 Fabricius, P.W"., s.v. Limes* cols. 647^- Built on to the 
vallum are two series of earth-forts, the first, at least thirty-five in number, 
of cohort-size, the second, about twenty-eight, very small. The larger 
forts were not occupied for long: they were replaced by the smaller posts, 
some of which occupy a part of their area or utilize a section of their ramparts, 

2 Dessau 9107. 

3 Against the view of Cichorius that the altar marks the site of the 
disaster of Fuscus, it is evident that Fuscus perished In Dacia (Tacitus, 
jigric. 41; Martial vi, 76; Juvenal iv, in). It is indeed far from certain 
whether the altar could be brought into connection with Fuscus in any way 
even as a cenotaph. Across one of its faces, in large letters* run the words 
\c\oL Pomp, domiciL NeapoL ltal.>prae[f.']. Yet it might be doubted whether 
Pompeii was the colony of Fuscus idem pro Galba dux colonial sum (Tacitus, 
Hht. n,86). 


winning of a civil war, they served him ill in the forests and moun- 
tains of Dacia. The army suffered further losses in its disastrous 
retreat s and the booty captured by the Dacians included a military 
standard perhaps an eagle 1 . 

Tacitus withheld the total of the Roman dead, imitating the 
patriotic reticence of certain earlier historians, and enhancing 
thereby the disaster and the discredit of Domitian. The choice of 
Fuscus the Prefect of the Guard as commander was Domitian 's, 
a natural choice if the Emperor himself was at the seat of war. 
Tradition preserved the picture of Domitian slaying the innocent 
and the helpless in Rome while on the frontiers his generals waged 
disastrous wars 2 . None the less there is evidence that on this 
occasion Domitian was not far from the scene of operations. 
According to one account he took up his abode in a city of Moesia 
and sent others against the enemy, for the most part with disastrous 
results; moreover, rejecting Decebalus' overtures for peace, he 
dispatched Fuscus against him, in reply to which Decebalus sent 
a derisive message, offering to let the Roman army depart from 
Dacia in return for a ransom 3 * If this be not all fiction, Domitian 
was still in Moesia after Fuscus had crossed the Danube. 

When Domitian returned to Rome it was not to celebrate the 
triumph he had once expected : he arrived in time to inaugurate the 
Capitoline Games in the summer of the year 86. 

The Dacians were contented with a victory beyond their hopes. 
But they were not to enjoy it for long. If the success which was 
subsequently achieved is any measure, the Roman preparations 
must have been thorough and comprehensive 4 . A second mis- 
calculation would be fatal. Nor can diplomacy have been neglected 

1 Dio LXVIII, 9, 3, ro (jr^jielov TO errl <$>ou<r/cov a\ov. For the theory 
that a legion, V Alaudae, perished with Fuscus, cf. E. Ritterling, P.W., s.v. 
Legio, cols. 1569 sq.\ R. Syme, J,R,S. xvin, 1928, p. 46. It might, how- 
ever, be conjectured that the crrjfjuGLov mentioned by Dio was a standard of 
the Praetorian Guard. 

2 Orosius vii, 10, 3. 

3 Dio LXVII, 6, 3 and 5. C further ib. 6, eTrei&fy o i perk rov <&OV<TKQV 
<TTpaTvo"dfjii'ot, r)<yrj<ra<76a,i a<f>)i> avra>v vj^icocrav, where Boissevain 
suggests inserting eicewov or reading avrov for avr&v. These passages 
favour 86 against 87 as the date of the expedition. 

4 The legion IV Flavia felix had probably been transferred from DalmatJa 
to Moesia in 85/6. I Adiutrix had departed from Germany soon after 83^ 
it is next heard of in Pannonia in 97 (Dessau 2720). II Adiutrix from 
Britain fought in a Dacian War (Dessau 9193), probably Domitian's 
(cf. E. Ritterling, P.W.y s.v. Legio, col. 1444), and apparently belongs to 
the garrison of the Moesian provinces in 92 (Dessau 2719). 


In the endeavour to isolate and encircle Decefoalus. To the west In 
the great plains between Transylvania and the frontier of Pannonia 
extended the Sarmatae lazyges, allies of Rome : but it is not known 
whether Rome could command their active co-operation 5 or had 
been able to buy the neutrality either of Dacian tribes in Wallachia 
or of Sarmatians farther to the east beyond the Lower Danube, 

After a lull in 87 the war was resumed in 88 and prosecuted in 
the next year 1 . Its climax was signalized by a remarkable victory. 
A Roman army commanded by Tettius Julianus reached the plain 
of Caransebe 3 facing the Iron Gates perhaps after a converging 
approach in several columns. At a place called Tapae 3 where 
Trajan was to meet with indifferent success in his first campaign, 
a great battle and a great slaughter of Dacians ensued. Vezinas, 
next in power to Decebalus> was left for dead on the field* Julianus, 
however, did not march on Sarmizegethusa : he was baffled, it was 
alleged, by a Dacian stratagem. Other causes might be invoked, 
not least the difficult approach through the Iron Gates. If the battle 
of Tapae was fought in the autumn of 8 8, it might be supposed that 
the Romans remained in occupation of Dacian territory through 
the winter and prepared to consummate their triumph by a further 
advance in the direction of Sarmizegethusa by another route. 

At Rome in the meantime Domitian had celebrated the Secular 
Games in September 8 8 , But before he could come to the Danube 
to contemplate the achievement of his armies and receive in person 
the submission of Decebalus, a civil war had been fought on the 
Rhine, and on the Danube a rapid turn of fortune compromised 
and impaired the success that had been won in Dacia. 


On the first of January 8 9, Antonms Saturnintis, the governor of 
Upper Germany, seized the deposited savings of the two legions 
wintering at Mainz and induced them to proclaim him emperor. 
A civil war had begun, likely to be no less eventful and ruinous 
than that which was still in all men's minds 2 , 

1 Domitian became Imp. xv in 88, before 14 Sept. (B.Jlf, Cat, R* 

ii, p. 326)* By 7 Nov., however, he is already Imp. xvm (jinn* tptg. 1927, 
no. 44)- The salutations xvm-xxi were registered before 14 Sept, of 89, 
but cannot be closely dated or apportioned between the Dacian War, the 
Civil War and the expedition against the Marcomanni and QuadL 

2 The reconstruction of the Civil War here adopted is in the main that 
proposed by E. Ritterling, Westdeutsche Zeitschr. xn, 1893, pp. 2x8 00. 
From a comparison with the events of A, ax 69 and from the date at which 
Domitian set out for the North (ia Jan., supplied by the Actafr&trum 


The conspirators for there seems to have been a widespread 
conspiracy had chosen their time with skill and were able to use 
the difficulties of the Empire for their own ends* The continuance 
of hostilities in Dacia tied down a considerable Roman army, and 
the East was disturbed .* the Parthians supported or had just been 
supporting a false Nero with the threat of war (see above, p. 144). 
A civil war more than any other can be determined by promptness 
of decision and rapidity of movement. While Verginius yet 
wavered and all the West was in suspense, the cause of Nero had 
been far from hopeless. Courage might have saved him : cowardice 
or folly prevented him from joining the army which was mustering 
for him in northern Italy (vol. x, p. 739 sq.}. The same dangers 
confronted Domitian. Upper Germany was in revolt. Lower 
Germany and Britain, too, for all that could yet be known, were in 
the plot all the great military provinces of the West and a dozen 
legions. But Domitlan displayed decision himself and expected it 
of others. Summoning, before it was too late, the Spanish legion 
VII Gemina, which its commander Trajan conducted with dutiful 
rapidity towards the seat of war 1 , Domitian hastened with the 
Guard to northern Italy, there to concentrate his troops and, if 
necessary, fall back upon the Danubian armies. Everything pro- 
mised a long and tenacious struggle, but the storm was dispelled 
as suddenly as it had gathered. Swift couriers had brought the ill 
news from Germany to Rome : by the twelfth day of the month 
Domitian was on his way to the north; on the twenty-fifth the 
tidings of victory, heralded by rumour and prodigies, were cele- 
brated by the Arval Brethren. 

On the Rhine events had moved swiftly. Miscalculation or 
misfortune ruined the designs of Saturninus. Maximus, the 
governor of Lower Germany, stood by Domitian, and his army won 
a victory against great odds. On the day of the battle a host of 
Germans was seen beyond the Rhine, intending to cross the frozen 
river to the help of Saturninus. A sudden thaw set in, and the 
Germans were frustrated. The scene of Saturninus' defeat is 
probably to be sought in the plain near Andernach, between Cob- 
lenz and Bonn. Saturninus was hastening northwards to win to 

CJ.L. vi, 2066, p. 517), Ritterling inferred that the revolt broke out on 
i Jan. The other evidence is supplied by Martial iv, 1 1 ; ix, 84; Pliny, 
Pan. 145 Suetonius, Dom. 6 and 7; Dio LXVII, n, 145 Aurelius Victor, 
Epit. xi, 10; Dessau 1006; C.LL, xm, I2i68 7 ~ 9 ; I2I7I 7 ; I2I73 16 "- 18 
(tiles of VI II Augusta). 

1 Pliny, Pan. 14, cum hgiones duceres seu potius (tanta velocitas erat) 
raperes. There was only one legion in Spain at this time. 


his cause or force by persuasion the army of Lower Germany, while 
the Germans in whose presence the armies fought were the Chatti 
who had descended from the upper reaches of the Lahn to the 
Neuwieder Becken opposite Coblenz and Andernach. 

The news of the victory did not interrupt the march of Domitian. 
He came to the Rhine and punished the officers and accomplices 
of Saturninus with a severity as merciless as it was intelligible. 
Maximus had taken care to destroy the private papers of Saturninus 3 
an action which will not have commended him to a suspicious and 
resentful emperor: the historian Dio praises him for disinterested 
virtue 1 . The treasonable designs of Saturninus can hardly have 
been matured without reference to the attitude of the commanders 
of the armies of Lower Germany and of Britain. By the former, he 
was deluded or repulsed, the latter may have been privy to the 
conspiracy at least a governor of Britain, Sallustius Lucullus, is 
named amongst the senators whom Domitian put to death on 
trivial or spurious charges 2 . The army of Lower Germany had 
saved the Emperor and the Empire, The legions, 1 Minervia, 
VI Victrix 3 X Gemma, and XXII Primigcnia, the auxiliary 
regiments and the Rhine fleet were honoured with the title pia 
jidelis Domitiana* Maximus later received a second consulate 3 * 

Rewards and privileges were showered upon the soldiery. But 
precautions were also taken, Domitian limited the sum of money 
that might be deposited at the headquarters of a legion, and 
abolished double camps 4 , XIV Gemina was left at Mainz, where 
it remained for three years longer* Its partner in treason and armed 
revolt, the notorious XXI Rapax, marched with Domitian when 
after a brief sojourn on the Rhine he set out for Pannonia. 

Before his departure it is to be presumed that Domitian settled 
accounts with the Chatti, They agreed to respect the Roman 
frontier in the future, a transaction sanctioned by the imposition 
or renewed imposition of some kind of treaty 5 * There is evidence 
enough that the Chatti had been in arms and had broken into 
Roman territory. On the line of the frontier from the river Lahn to 

1 LXVII, ii, i2. a Suetonius, Dom. 10. 

3 Dessau 1006, [, . *"\elmelAppi Jltfaximilhiscos^ confectoris belli Gernutnici. 
The true form of his name is uncertain JL Maximus (Dio r,xvn, 11, *)> 
Norbanus (Martial ix, 84, i); Norbanus Appius (Aurelius Victor, Epit. 
xi, 10, where Pichlmayr reads Norhanus Lappiuf). On this problem, 
c E. Ritterling, P,W. y s.<v, Lcgio, col 14585 Fasti des rorn* Deutschland 
unter dem Prinzzpat, p, 24. 4 Suetonius, Dom. 6. 

5 Statius, Si/v. in, 3, 168 (cf. I, i 27), victis parcmtia foedera 
cf. J.R.S. xxv, 1935, p, 96. 


the Taunus the wooden watch-towers were all destroyed by fire 1 . In 
the Wetterau, the bath-houses of three at least of the forts, Okarben, 
Heddernheim and Hof heim, show traces of destruction 2 . It would 
appear that the Chatti had descended In two bands from their haunts 
beyond the Taunus, the one sweeping down the Wetterau stripped 
of its garrisons by Saturninus, the other making for the Neuwieder 
Becken opposite Coblenz. In the years immediately following^ the 
damage caused in the Wetterau was made good by the construction 
of new bath-houses and perhaps of new forts as well. The incursion 
of the Chatti may well have had another immediate result. At some 
time in the late years of Domitian, the frontier was extended some 
twenty-five miles north-westward of the Lahn to enclose the 
Neuwieder Becken 3 . This was a region where many routes from 
the interior reached the bank of the Rhine : and it was now strongly 
occupied by the Romans, with no fewer than three forts 4 . 

The Chatti are said to have come as allies at the invitation of a 
Roman governor. This might be doubted, but it was an inter- 
pretation which could not be refuted after the event, and it had 
much to recommend it. Treason in the army and its associates in 
Rome were thereby branded with a deeper infamy and Domitian 
secured an opportunity and an excuse for celebrating a triumph 
later in the year de Germanis. Victory in a civil war was not the 
proper occasion for a Roman triumph. As it was, Domitian 's 
double triumph over Chatti and Dacians presented certain 
equivocal features. 


The Roman victory at Tapae had reduced Decebalus to sore 
straits. He was saved by a catastrophic turn of fortune. Beyond 
the Danube from Bohemia eastwards to the borders of Tran- 
sylvania the peoples that acknowledged the suzerainty of Rome 
and protected the frontier of Pannonia, the Marcomanni, the 
Quadi and the Sarmatae lazyges, cast off their allegiance and 
prepared for war. < Coortae in nos Sarmatarum ac Sueborum 

The Marcomanni and the Quadi failed to send help to Domitian 
in the Dacian War. He came to Pannonia from the Rhine in the 
spring of 89 and, after putting to death the members of an embassy 
of excuse and protestations (the second that they sent), made war 

1 E. Fabricius, PW., s.v. Limes, col. 587 > O.R.L. A, Strecke 2, p. 29, 

2 O.R.L. B 25 a, p. 9; B 27, pp. 22, 62; B 29, p. 5. 

3 E. Fabricius, PW., s.v. Limes, col. 587; O.R.L. A, Strecke i, p. 58. 

4 Namely Bendorf, Niederberg and Heddesdorf. 


upon them* The brief notice in an epitome 1 , the only record of this 
affair, fixes on Domitian the blame for an arrogant and unwise 
attack. If the circumstances were adequately known, his action 
might not appear to have been both criminal in its disregard for 
the law of nations and misguided in its object. Domitian refused 
to tolerate an affront to the majesty of Rome : but no emperor of 
the Flavian house had any liking for the risks and the costs of war 
if war could be avoided. If his was the aggression, it had a purpose 
to forestall the attack of the Germans and avert a greater danger: 
it is unfortunate that the ulterior causes of this change of front of 
the German and Sarmatian allies of Rome on the middle Danube 
are beyond recovery. 

The army which Domitian conducted or dispatched across the 
Danube met with a reverse, and the lazyges allied themselves with 
their German neighbours, a peril not only to the Pannonian frontier 
but to the army in Dacia. The changed situation demanded a rapid 
decision. When Tiberius invaded Bohemia in A.D* 6, all Illyricum 
rose in his absence, and he was compelled to make terms with 
Maroboduus, recognizing him as a king and friend of the Roman 
People (vol. x, p, 368 jy.). Decebalus had been hard pressed 2 : he 
had asked for peace before, more than once, and even now that 
Germans and Sarmatians were in arms against his enemy he had 
no wish to continue the struggle. On both sides expediency 
prevailed and honour was saved. Decebalus gained Roman recog- 
nition, and more than that, the Roman support for which Maro- 
boduus vainly hoped and vainly appealed* Domitian lent him 
skilled workmen and engineers and promised an annual subsidy. 
A well-grounded distrust prevented Decebalus from putting his 
valuable person in the power of Rome, At a ceremony of vicarious 
homage EHegis, a Dacian prince, received a diadem from the hands 
of DomitiatA In the course of the year the Emperor returned to 
Rome and celebrated with great pomp a double triumph over the 
Chatti and the Dacians. 

There remained other enemies. Before, or just after, the 
termination of the war in Dacia, a column was detached from the 
arany of occupation and sent north-westwards across the Banat 
of Temesvar to take the lazyges in the rear; it was led by a soldier 
of tried merit, Velius Rufus 4 . Of the course taken by the war on 

1 Die JLXVII, 7, i. a Ib 7, 2, SM/&? jkp IreraXawmip^TO. 

8 M>. 7, 35 Martial v, 3, Fuscus had now been avenged and Dacia could 
be regarded as subject. Martial vr 76. 

4 Dessau 9200. C the inscription Dessau 2 127, a centurion of Coh* XIII 
urbana decorated by Domitian, 


the Pannonian front, nothing Is known. Warfare might be supple- 
mented by the resources of Roman diplomacy either now or in 
the course of the next few years attempts were made to stir up the 
tribes in the rear of the recalcitrant Marcomanni and QuadL 
Before now the Hermunduri had intervened in Bohemia to the 
advantage, if not with the encouragement, of the Romans : of their 
attitude at this time, however, there is no evidence. North of 
Bohemia in Saxony dwelt the Semnones, whose primacy among 
the Suebic tribes was consecrated by antiquity and religion : the 
visit which their king, accompanied by an influential priestess, 
paid to Domitian was hardly the result of chance or idle curiosity 1 . 
Domitian also entered into negotiations with the powerful Lugii 
in Silesia, to whose aid he sent a small force of cavalry 2 . By these 
means he sought to prevent the growth of a hostile power or 
confederacy with its centre in Bohemia both the Semnones and 
the Lugii had once acknowledged the supremacy of Maroboduus 
and he was able to isolate the Marcomanni and QuadL 

Despite the use of diplomacy and an increase of the garrison of 
Pannonia to a total of four legions (see below, p. 187), unrest pre- 
vailed along the middle course of the Danube, culminating in 
another Suebo-Sarmatian War 3 . In the early spring of the year 92 
the lazyges crossed the river. A Pannonian legion met the invaders 
and perished in the encounter 4 . It was probably XXI Rapax: 
a fitting end for a legion whose name and whose history were so 
intimately associated with scenes of violence and sedition. To 
replace this legion, Domitian summoned from Mainz its com- 
panion and associate in the recent civil war, XIV Gemina, and 
once again visited the endangered frontier. Detachments were 
drawn from the five legions of the Moesian provinces 5 . Whether 
Decebalus lent help against the lazyges is, like almost everything 
else about the war, unknown. Domitian assumed one imperatorial 
salutation (xxn) and after an absence of eight months returned to 
Rome in January, 93. He did ngt celebrate the triumph which a 
servile Senate was ready to decree, but contented himself with 

1 Die LXVII, 5, 3. 2 Ib. 5, 2. 

3 Dessau 1017, exp edit (tone) Suebic(a) et Sarm(atica}\ 2719, bello Sueblco 
it\em Sar}jnaticO) C.LL. xi, 5992, be Hum Germ(antcurri) et Sarmatic(um). It is 
uncertain whether the helium Germanicum of Dessau 2710 and CJ.L. HI, 
7397 is this war or that of A.P. 89. On Dessau 1006, see above, p. 174, 
n. 3. 

4 Suetonius, Dom. 65 Tacitus, jigric. 415 Eutropius vii, 23, 4. For the 
identification with XXI Rapax, cf. E. Ritterling, P.W., s.v. Legio, coL 
1789 $q. 

5 Dessau 2719. 6 Martial ix, 315 vm, 25 VTII, 8, etc. 

C.A.H. XI 1* 


depositing a wreath of laurel in the temple of Juppiter on the 

After this the lazyges were kept in order perhaps by fear of 
Dacia ? their eternal enemy: but operations against the Germans 
in the autumn of the year 97 provided a happy omen for Nerva's 
adoption of Trajan and an additional name in the titles of each 
emperor 1 . 


The inglorious issue and, as it turned out, the delayed decision, 
of the Danubian crisis cannot obscure the achievement of the 
Flavian emperors in other lands. The re-organization of the eastern 
frontier and the pacification of northern Africa were matched by 
a great advance in Germany: solid results continued to be attained 
with an economy of men and of money that would have gratified 
Vespasian himself. 

"Nor was there less apparent cause for satisfaction in the state of 
Britain. Wales and northern England had been subjugated,, and 
the Roman arms had been triumphantly carried far into Scotland. 
With the departure of Agricola, silence envelopes the island for 
nearly forty years. When the veil lifts again it reveals the presence 
of a Roman emperor in Britain and the construction of Roman 
frontier-works between the Solway and the Tyne. What had 
happened in the interval ? Only archaeology can provide an answer ; 
and that answer is still faint and faltering. 

Perdomita Britannia et statim missal On the strength of this 
observation^ it was long believed that all the conquests made by 
Agricola were immediately abandoned. There is exaggeration not 
merely in one member but in both members of the Tacitean phrase, 
The supersession of Agricola did not represent any change of 
policy with regard to Britain, for even had he remained a lull would 
presumably have followed the great advance initiated by his third 
campaign. Agricola's successor whoever he was, was the author 
neither of an advance nor yet of a retreat, 

The greater part of Agricola's gains in Scotland were held for 

some years, for that is the conclusion that appears to be indicated 

by the study both of the Roman coins found in Scotland and of the 

remains, structural and other, of certain military sites in Scotland, 

not merely Newstead and Camelon, but Ardoch and Inchtuthill, 

beyond the Forth 3 . A definite frontier has not been found and may 

1 Pliny, Pan. 85 Dessau 2720, 2 Tacitus, Hist. I, 2$ cf. Jgric, 10. 

s Sir George Macdonald, J.R.S. nc, 1919, pp. in $qq.\ P.S.jf. Scot. 

LII, 1917-1918, pp. 203-76, and LVIH, 1923-4, pp. 325-9- 


never have existed for it is often misleading to apply that term 
to chains or groups of forts built for the purpose of penetrating 
and subjugating a refractory region 1 . How long the Romans kept 
their hold on southern Scotland is not known a withdrawal 
in the early years of Trajan or even towards the end of Domi- 
tian's reign is not impossible 2 . In default of more evidence from 
Scotland, knowledge may be augmented by the result of excavation 
on or near the frontier-works of Hadrian, where there are forts or 
posts that are proved, either by their situation, their structure or 
their remains, to be earlier than the Wall of Hadrian and therefore 
perhaps contemporary with the Stanegate. 

The occupation of the line between the Solway and the Tyne was 
a necessary part both of the conquest of the Brigantes and of their 
subsequent repression, for these recalcitrant tribes were to be heard 
of again. As in Mauretania, the Romans in Britain were unable 
to find a single and satisfactory line behind which peace could reign 
undisturbed. It is no accident that the only wars that troubled 
Pius, the most Antonine of emperors, were waged in Britain and 
in Mauretania (p. 336). Seen in its true light, the retention or the 
abandonment of Scotland has a local rather than an imperial 
significance it concerns merely the depth of the military zone 
of control in northern Britain. 

An advance in the north did not obviate the need for forts south 
of Hadrian's Wall and in Wales: the difficulties that confronted 
the Romans are indicated by the fact that it was necessary in the 
Antonine period to keep garrisons not merely along the more 
important of the roads across the Pennines at points like Bowes 
and Ilkley, but even on the southernmost fringe of the Brigantian 
territory, for example, at Brough in Derbyshire and at Temple- 
borough. The civilizing methods of Agricola which extorted the 
grudging admiration of Tacitus 3 were pursued with success in the 
south. There was no place for them in the north. Beyond 
Aldborough there were no cities. 

In peace or war the army of Britain was imposing in size, 
especially in its contingent of auxiliary regiments, indispensable 
for open warfare, of which there was abundance, and for garrisoning 

1 A Roman road with a number of small wooden signal towers at intervals 
on either side of it runs from the fort of Ardoch north-eastwards to the 
river Tay (c D. Christison, P.S.ji. Scot, xxxv, 19001, pp. 1543). The 
road may well be of Flavian date; but it is doubtful whether it marks a 
frontier and is not rather a line of penetration, that is, a limes in its original 
military sense (cf. below, p. 183). 

2 T. D, Pryce and E. Birley, J.R.S. xxv, 1935, pp. 59 sqq.\ against their 
thesis. Sir G, Macdonald, J.R.S. xxv, 1935, pp. 187 sqq. 


forts. While Agricola was still in Britain, the legions had sent 

detachments for service in Germany (p. 163): and several years 
later, apparently in 86 or 88, II Adiutrix departed for ever to the 
Danube (above, p. 171), Three legions remained,, II Augusta at 
Caerleon, IX Hispana at York, XX Valeria victrix at Chester 1 . 
For their tasks they were none too many, and they acquitted 
themselves nobly, Britain continued to be a fighting province, 
and her legions were thought worthy of comparison with the best 
in the Empire, the Danubian troops 2 . 

Germany, however, suffers a change and a degradation. For 
more than a century, from Domitian to Antoninus Caracalla, the 
peace of this frontier does not appear to have been seriously dis- 
turbed. The German armies decline in numbers and in prestige. 
They had been the arbiters of empire : they now no longer play 
a decisive or even an independent r6le. 

It had long been desirable, and it now became possible, to reduce 
the formidable total of the legions stationed on the Rhine. To this 
frontier Domitian had brought his new legion I Minervia: but he 
had withdrawn in succession three legions, I Adiutrix, XXI Rapax 
and XIV Gemma. None of these ever returned to Germany, and 
after the departure of XIV Gemina to Pannonia in A.D* 92, the two 
German armies number three legions apiece 3 : in the course of the 
following generation each army surrenders yet another legion, and 
the camps of Vindonissa and Noviomagus are abandoned. 

For Lower Germany the Rhine provided a secure frontier. The 
tribes beyond it had been persuaded or intimidated into submission. 
But that river no longer marked the eastern limit of Upper Ger- 
many* Shortly after 8 9 the frontier that had been won as a result 
of Domitian's war against the Chatti was prolonged northwards 
beyond the Lahn and touched the Rhine at Rheinbrohl, opposite 
the boundary of the two Germanics (p. 175). From this point a 
new frontier by land ran in an irregular line south-eastward to 
reach the Danube a little above Regensburg, At the death of 
Domitian it had probably not been clearly delimited along its 

1 The exact distribution of the legions of Britain when they still numbered 
four is not certain. Caerleon and York are early Flavian sites. As for 
Chester (also early Flavian?) it is not known whether or not* it at first housed 
two legions. II Adiutrix has left traces both at Chester and at Lincoln. 

a Herodian in, 7, 2. 

3 XXII Primigenia then came to Mainz, and VI Victrix, abandoning 
Novacsium, occupied Vetera. The distribution of the legions after that year 
is as follows: Noviomagus, X Gem. P.F.D.j Vetera, VI Victrix P.F.D.j 
Bonna, I Min. P.F.D.j Moguntiacum, XXII Prim. P.F.D.j Argentorate, 
VIII Aug.; Vindonissa, XI Claudia. 


whole course. But the process may be described as completed. 
Indeed, such modifications as were made later, even the advance 
east of the Odenwald and the valley of the Neckar in the time of 
Antoninus Pius, bear a local rather than a general significance. 
There was a change, however, in the form of the defence In the 
Antonine system all the forts were strung out on the line of the 
frontier Itself. Hadrian erected a wooden palisade. Later (perhaps 
in the time of Caracalla) the Raetlan frontier received a stone wall 
about eight feet high, Upper Germany, however, the mound and 
ditch known as the Pfahlgraben, 

The Flavian advance had secured a route between the Rhine 
and the Danube, from Mainz by Stuttgart to Ulm 1 . It might 
indeed have been expected that the Roman advance would cut yet 
deeper into southern Germany, to Incorporate the land of the 
Hermunduri In the valley of the Main and win not only a shorter 
frontier but a shorter line of communications from Mainz to 
Regensburg by way of Nuremberg. But this was not to be, and 
a salient of free Germany still faced the Roman frontier on the west 
and on the south. In this region south-west from the territories 
of the Hermunduri extended a broad belt of virgin forest 2 : it 
presented no threat to the Romans and promised no advantage 
from annexation. 

To an advance of the Roman frontier in Germany and an annexa- 
tion of territory beyond the Rhine there is a solitary reference in 
the imperfect records of history. In his account of the nations of 
Germany, Tacitus inserts, while refusing them the right to appear 
there, the inhabitants of a district which he designates as decumates 
agrfi* They were Gauls and immigrants, subsequently annexed to 
the Empire * mox limite acto promotisque praesidlis sinus imperil 
et pars provinciae habentur ' . The meaning of this term is quite un- 
certain : it never recurs and was perhaps obsolescent when 
Tacitus wrote, for the regions beyond the Rhine had become part 
of a province. The military territories of Upper and Lower 
Germany had not hitherto in official language been dignified with 
the name of provinces. That title appears for the first time in the 
reign of Domitian, an emperor enamoured of precision and uni- 
formity. The change of title first attested In A.D. 9O 4 may have 

1 Aurelius Victor (Caes. xiu, 3) assigns to Trajan the building of a 
road per f eras gentes quo facile ab usque Pontico mart in Galliam per me at ur* 

2 The 'frankisches Nadelholzgebiet.' 

3 Germ. 29. On this passage see E. Nor den, Alt-Germanien, pp. 


4 Dessau 1015, cf. 1998, 


followed close upon the suppression of the revolt of Saturninus : 
an earlier date Is not excluded. However that may be, the new 
lands beyond the Rhine soon received an organization based upon 
tribal communities, such as already existed among the Mattiaci 
and the Suebi Nicretes : for the rest, however, the cmitates appear 
to be new creations, with names derived from their locality,, a fact 
which justifies Tacitus' refusal to number them among the nations 
of Germany. In the upper valley of the Neckar, indeed, around 
Sumelocenna (Rotten burg) a large region became Imperial domain- 
land 1 : but the natives subsequently developed into a self-governing 

From the brief and confused remarks of two epitomators of a 
later age ? this process of organization is sometimes assigned to 
Trajan 2 , an emperor who is never allowed less than his due: but 
it may well go back to the institution of a province of Upper 
Germany in the time of Domitian. For Trajan there remained 
little or nothing to be done along or within the frontiers of Germany 
and Raetia ; and no military activity is recorded. Even a remorseless 
panegyrist like Pliny the Younger must confess himself defeated, 

The advance of the frontier in Germany and Raetia had been 
completed in its essentials by A,D* 96. The date at which certain 
forts were first established cannot always, it is true, be closely 
determined : whether some forts belong to the last years of Demi- 
tian, to the brief reign of Ncrva, or to the beginning of that of his 
successor is a problem that belongs to topography rather than to 
history. The process of annexation was completed;, so Tacitus 
records, by the drawing of a limes. This was the term which soon 
came to be applied to each and all of the frontiers of the Empire, 
at first perhaps only when they were lines of demarcation or 
defence on land, but later to rivers as well 3 * The original meaning 
of the word, a straight path, hence a boundary, might be taken to 
suggest that it developed by an easy and natural transition to signify 
the limit first of a province, then of an empire 4 . But this is not so: 

1 Dessau 4608; 7099; 7100, Dessau 8855 is difficult to interpret; 
it mentions a procurator ^topa<? [^"jofieKofcepv^crta^ /ecu * ] 6/0Xfytur#i/79. 

2 Eutropius VIH, 2* 2$ Orosius vit, 12, a. Some of the communities in, 
fact bear his name, e.g. the Ci vitas Ulpia Sueborum Nicretum (Dessau, 472, 

8 Cf. especially the description of Hadrian's palisades (SJi.J, Hadr. 
1 2, 6), in plurimis loci 3 in quibus barbari nonflummihus sed limitibm di^iduntur^ 
stipitibus magnis in modum muralis $aepi$ funditm tact Is atque conexis bar bar os 
$epara*oit Already in Tacitus we find the word applied to the frontier of 
the Danube (Agric* 41), de limit e imperil et ripa. 

4 Lucan (i, 216) uses it of the Rubicon. 

IV, x] THE LIMES 183 

the word had also a narrower sense it was a technical military 
term, designating the straight clear path along which a column 
of troops moved forward to attack in a battle or in a campaign. 
Limites were constructed to penetrate hostile territory and were 
subsequently maintained to control it. These military lines of 
penetration had been employed by the Romans in their invasion 
of Germany in Augustan days 1 : and Domitian operated in this way 
against the Chatti over a wide front 2 . A military road, accompanied 
in its course by fortified posts or watch-towers, might thus be used 
to isolate difficult territory and might sometimes correspond more 
or less to the limit of effective control. In northern England the 
Stanegate may have fulfilled this function for a time; and at an 
earlier date the Fosse Way was perhaps the earliest frontier of the 
Roman province of Britain 3 . 

The essential of a limes ^ then, is a road with watch-towers or forts 
along it. It is not necessary that it should be provided with any 
other defences. As has very properly been observed, the essential 
feature of Hadrian's Wall is not the stone wall itself, which is best 
regarded not as a barrier but as an elevated sentry-walk 4 . 

In this sense, all the limites of the frontier provinces of the Empire 
embody the same principle. But here the resemblance ends. Just 
as army varied from army in composition and functions, so did 
limes from limes. Great differences may indeed be observed along 
the same frontier at the same time. The system of defence designed 
by Domitian after the annexation of the Wetterau has already been 
described a chain of watch-towers, with here and there a small 
post, running along the rim of the Taunus and sweeping around 
the north-east of the Wetterau, to join the river Main near Hanau. 
Here there was an enemy to be feared, the Chatti : and so the forts 
that housed the auxiliary regiments were situated in the rear. 
South of Hanau, however, things were different^ and the regiments 
could be placed on the line -of the frontier, for the patrolling of 
which they supplied the troops. This frontier followed the bank 
of the Main for some twenty miles, as far as Worth, where it struck 
southwards, keeping to the line of a ridge > and descended to the 
Neckar at Wimpfen* Thence the Neckar provided the frontier as 
far as Cannstatt, with a chain of forts, constructed, like those on 
the rest of the limes south of Hanau, of earth. East of Cannstatt the 
point of junction with the limes of Raetia at this date is uncertain, 

1 Veil. Pat, ir, 1215 Tacitus, jinn, i, 50; 11, 7, 

2 Cf. Frontinus, Strat. i, 3, 10. 

3 C R. G. Coliingwood, jf.R.S. XIV A 1924, pp. 252 sqq* 

4 See Volume of Plates v y 34. 


for the limit of the Roman advance had not yet been clearly marked 
by any natural or artificial line. 

In the form which it was ultimately to receive, the Roman 
frontier in Germany was a visible and an imposing barrier. But 
none of the features which gave it this character, in Upper Ger- 
many the palisade of Hadrian and the later mound and ditch (the 
Pfahlgraben), in Raetia the palisade and then the stone wall, were 
present in the original scheme. This scheme, indeed, could have 
served its purpose adequately enough without them, for the new 
frontier was designed to be, not a line of defence, but a line of 
patrols, to watch the natives and prevent their crossing without 
leave the limit that Rome had set, whether that limit was a river or 
a line drawn across the dry land. This function is illustrated by the 
inscriptions which Commodus set up to commemorate his repairs 
along the Pannonian limes of the Danube 'ripam omnem burgis 
a solo extractls item praesidis per loca opportuna ad clandestinos 
latmnculorum transitus oppositis munivitV Even before the 
Flavian re-organization of the frontiers of Germany and Raetia, it 
was the rule that natives should not cross the boundary rivers 
how and when they pleased 2 . This interdiction was now rein- 
forced by a stricter control. The tranquillity of the frontier is 
illustrated by the fact that Hadrian transferred the garrisons 
from the forts in the Wetterau to the line of the limes itself: of a 
German invasion there appears to be no danger, and Roman 
soldiers usurp the duties of gendarmes and customs officials. 

The full significance of the measures adopted by the Flavian 
emperors in Germany and of the changes thereby effected or 
portended was not at once apparent to contemporaries. In the 
year 98 Tacitus published his Germania* Of its character and 
purpose there has been much debate, Though it may very properly 
be denied that the tract was written to serve a moral or a political 
end, Tacitus would not be its author if it did not betray some 
indication of his personality and his opinions. At the time when 
the Germania was made public, Trajan was on the Rhine. A policy 
different from that of the Flavians might be deduced from his 
character and his career. From the earliest encounter of the 
Romans with the nations of Germany down to the second consulate 
of Trajan, more than two centuries of history had been filled with 
the record of their wars ; and the latest triumph celebrated over 
them had been false and futile. *Tam diu Germania vincitur 3 / 

1 Dessau 8913, etc, 2 Tacitus, Germ, 415 Hist, iv, 64. 

3 Tacitus, Germ, 37. 


It may be inferred that Tacitus hoped in secret for that conquest 
of Germany which he did not dare openly to advocate. He recounts 
how an offending people, the Bructeri, were pitilessly massacred 
by a confederacy of their neighbours for the advantage of Rome 1 . 
In the comments which this edifying spectacle has moved him to 
record^ it is perhaps permissible to read, not so much solicitude 
for the future destiny of the Empire and hope that the enemies of 
Rome may ever be divided thus, as irony and Indignation that so 
ignoble a policy should in the present be recommended. But 
Tacitus was deceived and disappointed: Trajan. sought his laurels 
in other lands. Tacitus should have assigned more space and more 
significance to the Danubian Germans, the Marcomanni and the 
Quadi: he should have compiled for his contemporaries and for 
posterity some account of the peoples of Dacia and Sarmatia. 

To the changed and calamitous situation on the Danube Tacitus 
had already in his biography of Agricola borne emphatic testimony 
disaster upon disaster, continuous and unmitigated, four Roman 
defeats in Moesia, Dacia, Germany and Pannonia 2 . As later in 
the days of Marcus Aurelius, from Bohemia to the Pontus all was 
confusion. The needs of the Empire summoned Domitian three 
times to a frontier which no emperor before him had ever troubled 
to visit. He adopted the methods which tradition and common-sense 
recommended : he had not designed the conquest and annexation 
of Dacia, but had sent Fuscus and then Julianus across the river 
to restore the prestige of Rome and secure peace for the future by 
humbling and weakening Decebalus. It was now advisable to 
come to an understanding with Dacia: a strong Dacia, with a 
monarch who could keep his own subjects in order, and check the 
nomad tribes on either side, might become an integral part of the 
system of frontier defence. For this reason Domitian paid Dece- 
balus a subsidy and lent him engineers to build forts. In a later age > 
when Rome could no longer hold and defend Dacia as a province, 
Aurelian yielded this territory to the Goths and acquired for Rome 
a century of peace along the Lower Danube. To choose, delimit 
and garrison a frontier is only a small part of frontier defence : more 
important are the relations with the tribes beyond it: instead of 
continuous unrest, of repeated punitive expeditions against an 
elusive or inaccessible enemy, empires before or since have not 
disdained to enlist by the payment of money the co-operation of 
the more civilized or the neutrality of the more turbulent tribes 
along their borders. Trajan subsidized the Sarmatae Roxolani 

1 Tacitus, Germ. 33. 

2 Tacitus, jtgric. 41. 


beyond the Lower Danube : in the first year of Hadrian they com- 
plained of a reduction of the money paid to them 1 . 

Rome had hitherto paid subsidies to the Marcomanni and Quadi ; 
now Dacia occupied that privileged status. That a Roman 
victory in Dacia should have been followed by peace without 
conquest was distasteful or inexplicable to contemporaries who 
were more familiar with history as it appeared transfigured in 
literature than with the stern requirements and the sober methods 
of imperial frontier policy: and even if Domitian had not been 
detested and his memory condemned, the choice which he took 
must have appeared ignoble when confronted with the glorious 
achievements of an emperor who revived the wars and triumphs 
of ancient days. Yet it might be urged that a policy adopted in the 
face of a sudden emergency should only be judged with reference 
to that emergency. Time might have refuted Dornitian's policy 
by its results : that it was folly and a failure is not at once proved 
by the fact that it was reversed by Trajan. Moreover, should the 
power of Decebalus appear to have been unduly augmented, the 
ephemeral empires and rapid ends of Burebista and of Maroboduus 
gave some grounds for confidence in an issue other than that of 
war and conquest. 

The change in Roman foreign policy was accompanied by a 
re-organization of the defence of the long and imperilled frontier 
of the Danube. Though evidence is scanty, it is clear that ample 
compensation must have been made for the neglect that had 
prevailed hitherto. Additional auxiliary regiments and new forts 
would be required. The Column of Trajan depicts wooden watch- 
towers along the Danube, like those built by Domitian in the 
Taunus ; and repairs were made on the road hewn in the rock on 
the southern bank of the Danube in the narrow gorge, called the 
Pass of Kazan 2 , a road begun by Tiberius, but for which Trajan 
was to have the ultimate and enduring credit* 

What can be inferred of the movements and distribution of the 
legions provides an indication of value. In the time of Vespasian 
six (or perhaps seven) legions comprised the garrison of the pro- 
vinces of Dalmatia, Pannonia and Moesia (see p. 169): and two 
of these were still stationed in the interior. By the end of Domitian *s 
reign there were probably nine. Three legions had arrived in 
succession from the Rhine, I Adiutrix, XIV Gemina and XXI 
Rapax, one from Britain, II Adiutrix: none went back, and one 
had perished. 

Moesia had been divided in 85 6 3 Uncertainty about the 
1 S.H.A. Hadr* 6, 8. a Dessau 9373* 3 Ib. 1005* 


boundary between the two provinces contributes to the difficulty 
of determining which of the Moesian provinces had three legions^ 
which two, for the total appears to have comprised five 1 . The 
camps of I Italica, V Macedonica and VII Claudia were probably, 
as before, Novae, Oescus and Viminacium: about the camps of the 
new arrivals, probably II Adiutrix and IV Flavia felix, there is no 
certain evidence 2 . 

As for Pannonia, the line of the Danube from Carnuntum (east 
of Vienna) to its confluence with the Save at Belgrade had long been 
neglected. The defection of the German and Sarniatian allies of 
Rome laid bare what was perhaps the most vulnerable section of 
the whole frontier, between Vienna and Budapest in the time of 
Hadrian it was held by four legions, stationed at Vindobona, 
Carnuntum, Brigetio and Aquincum* By the end of Domitian's 
reign XIII Gemina had probably moved from Poetovio to Vindo- 
bona 3 ; and XV Apollinaris garrisoned Carnuntum as before. There 
now appear, however, to have been two more legions in Pannonia, 
I Adiutrix and XIV Gemina, possibly at Brigetio and at Aquincum 4 . 

The garrisons of Britain and the German provinces have now 
fallen to three legions apiece, and Pannonia, with four legions, 
holds pride of place among the military provinces of the Empire. 
Long neglected, the Danube comes into its own, with nine legions 
as against six in the Rhine. By the time of Hadrian the Rhine 
armies have shrunk to four, and ten legions in the Danubian 
provinces attest and guarantee the importance of that frontier in 
peace and in war. 

1 Dessau 2719. 

2 Above, p. 171, n. 4.. For a conjecture (quite insecure), cf. R. Syme 
in J.R.S. xvni, 1928., p. 49, 

3 C E. Ritterling, PW., s.v. Legio, col 1714^* 

4 Cf. jF.jR. xvni, 1928, p. 51. I Adiutrix fought against the Suebi in 
A.D. 97 (Dessau 2720). Brigetio and Aquincum may well be pre-Trajanic: 
for Aquincum, cf, the Domitianic building-inscription, CJ.L. in, I4547 a i 
for Brigetio, S. Paulovics, Jtvum, vm, 1934, p. 246. 




F Ip^HE most embittered opponent of Domitian's rule could 

Jl_ scarcely have desired a greater contrast to the murdered man 
than the ruler who succeeded him. The new emperor, M. 
Cocceius Nerva, was born at Narnia on November 8, probably 
in A.D. 30* : he was therefore nearly 66 at the date of his accession. 
His career as a private citizen is only partially known 2 * He had 
been a friend of Nero, who was inspired by his lyric pieces to 
christen him the Tibullus of his age; and as praetor designate 
in 65 he was rewarded with ornaments triumpJuilia and other 
honours after the suppression of the Pisonian conspiracy. Yet 
these proofs of Nero's favour did not prevent Vespasian from 
choosing him as his colleague in the consulship for the critical 
year 7 1 . From that date until his second consulship with Domitian 
in 91 his movements are unknown. I wen during the Terror of 
936 his part is obscure. There is, indeed, some evidence that he 
was in danger of his life 3 . But when after the tyrant's death it was 
a point of pride to have endured his threats, the new emperor 
would naturally be credited with his predecessor's hatred; and it is 
no long transition to Dio's statement that his danger made him all 
the readier to listen to the conspirators' advances* 

Note. The chief literary sources for the principatc of Nerva arc: Dio 
LXVII, 15-65 txvnr, 1-4; feutropius vrn, i ; Aurclius^ Victor, Caes* xn; xur, 
105 Epit* XH; Pliny, Pan. passim; Ep. r, 5, 12; IT, i, 75 m, 1 1; iv, 9, n, 
17, 22; vir, 31, 33; TX, 135 x, 8 (24), 58 (66), For inscriptions sec the 
Bibliography and for coins see Mattingly and Sydenham, The Roman 
Imperial Coinage,, n, pp 22033 auc ^ Volume of Plates v, 126. 

1 Fasti Philocal. et Silv. C.LL. i a > p. 255, 276 j^.s vr 10050 =-.- Dessau 
5285, give the month and day; but the year is variously given in the records; 
c Die cd, Boisscvain in, p. 190. 

2 Dessau 273 adds a few further details to those given in the text. 

3 Aurelius Victor, Caes. xu (an unlikely legend); Dio LXVII, 15; Philo- 
stratus, Vita JpolL vn, 8, 132 (cfl vm, 7, 160). llie two last can be har- 
monized into a plausible story; but the negative evidence of Suetonius is 
strong against his actual punishment, and Martial xu, 6 is unexpectedly 
colourless if Nerva had really been in serious danger (c v, 28; vm, 70). 


Whoever was responsible for it, the choice of such a man, placid 
though eloquentj nobly-born but over sixty years of age, to succeed 
to the Empire in a moment of crisis demands some explanation. 
On neither side was he descended from the Republican nobility 1 . 
His grandfather and father had alike been jurists of distinction, 
and the former, Caesari familiarissimus^ accompanied Tiberius 
from Rome in A.D. 26 and remained with him until his own 
voluntary death in 33 (Vol. x, pp. 632, 640). His great-grand- 
father, also M. Cocceius Nerva, was consul in 36 B.C. and XF " mr 
sac.fac. in 17 B.C. on the occasion of the Secular Games; and was 
himself the brother of a man even better known, L. Cocceius 
Nerva, consul in 39 B.C., who played an important part in securing 
the treaty of Brundisium between Octavian and Antony 2 . 

On his father's side, therefore, Nerva belonged to a family 
which (though no member of it is yet known to have held military 
command since the battle of Actium) had been eminent since the 
Civil Wars and had enjoyed the respect and friendship of the 
Julio-Claudian house. Through his mother's family, however, he 
could claim more exalted connections. Nerva's mother, Sergia 
Plautilla 3 , was the daughter of that C. Octavius Laenas who 
succeeded his other grandfather as curator aquarum in A.D. 34 4 . 
Her brother married Rubellia Bassa, the great-grand-daughter of 
Tiberius through her father's marriage with Julia, the child of 
Drusus and Livilla, and this lady, Nerva's aunt, thus formed a link 
which related him to the Julio-Claudian family: in the veins of 
those cousins whom he passed over for the succession in 9 7 there 
ran the blood of Tiberius and of Octavia. So remote a connection 
may appear to be of small significance: but the prestige of the 
Julio-Claudian house remained high, and an inspection of their 
genealogical tree shows at once that the number of people who 
had even that degree of affinity to the family can, after the death 
of Nero, have been only extremely small 5 . 

Nerva was thus a man who was in different ways linked both 
on his father's and mother's side with the Julio-Claudian court; 
he had been, perhaps for this reason, the first private consul 
ordinarius under Vespasian; and his name would naturally be 

1 Eutropius viu, I, nobilitatis mediae. 

2 That the family had at some time been granted patrician rank is shown 
by Nerva's early appointment as salius Palatinus. 

3 Dessau 281. 4 Frontinus, de aquaeductllus, 102. 

5 Nerva was the last of the emperors whose ashes were deposited in the 
Mausoleum of Augustus; cf. E, Groag, Jahreshefte, xxn, 1924, BeibL 
col. 425 sq . 


among the first to come to mind in the choice of an acceptable 
successor* The words of Dio prove beyond reasonable doubt that 
he had no sons to follow him 1 ; and time would show where a 
younger and more vigorous heir might be found. The ancient 
writers are at one in emphasizing the kindliness of his disposition, 
and the fact, if it be correct, that he had held no important military 
or provincial command may not have appeared as a disadvantage. 
After all, the chaos of 69 had been the work of rival armies and 
their leaders; and such jealousies might not arise against a man 
who was not, and perhaps had never been, an army commander, 
Nor was his age, to senators at least, unwelcome. History had 
enforced the lesson that, however well disposed a princeps were 
on his accession, few men could withstand the temptations of 
unlimited power for long: an old emperor might die before he 
became dangerous. Lastly, the greatest present need was for a 
government which could conciliate all interests. Domitian, by 
whatever means, had won the favour of the army; but his policy 
towards other classes in the State was rapidly unbalancing the 
whole imperial administrative system. 

The sources of evidence for the next sixteen months, the last 
of Nerva's life, are certainly meagre ; but a reconstruction of the 
chronology is assisted by the accurate dates of the coin series, and 
with these the order of Dio's narrative is not seriously at variance, 
In foreign affairs the period was relatively uneventful, and it is 
the domestic programme of the government and its progressive 
decline that is important. In both two stages are at once discernible, 
the first covering the immediate reactions to Domitian's murder, 
and the second the year 97 when the new government initiated its 
own policy and its essential weakness had had time and opportunity 
to make itself felt. 

No coup d'Etat, involving the violent death of an autocratic 
head of the State, can dispense with an initial period of danger and 
anxiety; the new regime, however, survived its birth-pangs un- 
impaired* A trace of the uncertainty of those days has been pre- 
served in the rumour that Domitian was after all alive; but the 
positive assurance of the principal murderer proved sufficient to 
allay the fears of a resurrection* The attitude of the Praetorian 
Guard was more serious, but for the moment the danger passed: 
according to tradition both the Prefects Norbanus and Petronms 
had been privy to the plot, and Petronius at least was later to suffer 
for this suspicion. Abandoned by their leaders, the praetorians 
were silenced, though they continued to watch their opportunity 
1 Dio Lxviir, 4. Cf. Ausonius xxi, 2> 55 (ecL Schcnkl), 


for a rising. That the provincial armies hesitated to take the oath 
we have no certain evidence 3 but prominent in the new coin issue 
was the legend CONCORDIA EXERCITUUM, a piece of propaganda 
that seldom appears but when it is needed, and had been in abey- 
ance since Vespasian's issues of A,D. 69 yo 1 . That the customary 
donative was paid need not be doubted; the example of Galba 
can hardly have been forgotten in circumstances so closely parallel. 
For the momentj then, the troops were quiet, the oath was taken. 
From the urban populace there was less to fear. It had received 
the news with indifference, and a congiarium of the usual dimen- 
sions was at once distributed; this too Galba had omitted. 

The remainder of the year was occupied with the return of the 
exiles, the reaction against Domitian's informers, and the repeal 
of his most unpopular measures. About the tyrant's death the 
Senate at least had had no doubts 2 . His memory was damned, his 
acts abolished 3 ; the injaustum vocabulum^ his name, was ordered 
everywhere to be erased; his triumphal arches were pulled down 
or converted to other uses : and with a howl of gratification the 
Senate lent their hands to the work, as they saw the hated statues 
crashing from their pedestals, rent, split and shattered by the axe 
or melting in the flames 4 . A deplorable scene, but a measure of 
the depths of humiliation and terror to which Domitian's mad 
persecution had reduced the men from whom he continued to 
recruit his most responsible lieutenants. After the vengeance 
upon the dead came the vengeance upon the living. Many of the 
informers, especially in the humbler classes, were condemned to 
death at once. Everyone accused his enemies dumtaxat minores 
and wild confusion ensued. Nerva held his hand, and his first 
appointed consul TL Catius Fronto, himself a lawyer of distinction, 
bitterly remarked that there might be worse things than tyranny. 
Finally the Princeps intervened; the returned exiles were still far 
from satisfied, but the storm of accusations died down 5 . Meanwhile 
the principal sources of delation were sealed. The charge of 
maiestas was temporarily suppressed and with it that of Judaism : 
henceforth the Jewish tax was to be confined to Jews self-confessed. 
These reforms were commemorated on coins of 96 bearing the 

1 The trouble at one of the Danube camps witnessed by Dio Chrysostom 
may well belong to this period; Philostratus, Fitae Soph, i, 7, I. 

2 Cf. Suetonius, Dom. 23. 

3 Nerva, however, confirmed his beneficia by an edict, quoted in Pliny, 
Ep. x, 58 (66). 4 Pliny, Pan. 52. 

5 Aurelius Victor, Eplt. xir. Cf. Pliny, Ep. iv, 22 and for the subsequent 
punishment of the surviving informers by Trajan, Pan. 345. 


of the types issued by the Imperial mint in this year only one 
MONETA AUGUST., which does not re-appear after 96 repeats a 
Domitianic motif * and in the senatorial coinage the types are nearly 
all new. The legend ROMA RENASCENS recalls the ROMA RESURGENS 
of Vespasian (6972)5 and LIBERTAS PUBLICA voices another and 
similar echo. These, with types of Salus, Fortuna and Aequitas, 
all emphasize Nerva 7 s desire to blot out the past and foreshadow 
the benevolent programme of the following year. 

The year 97 opened with Nerva as consul, his colleague being 
the veteran L. Verginius Rufus, who now entered upon his third 
consulship at the age of eighty-two or three, after nearly thirty 
years of retirement from active public life. The constructive 
programme now introduced was planned almost entirely for the 
benefit of Rome and Italy, There is indeed in coins of the year 
a suggestion of a temporary corn shortage which Nerva met by 
emergency measures 1 ; but more serious steps than this were taken 
to deal with the problem of poverty. A lex agniria voted the 
provision by the State of lands to the value of 60 million sesterces 
for allotment to poor citizens; and a senatorial commission was 
put in charge of the purchase and distribution* This return to 
Republican methods of dealing with the urban poor was re-inforced 
by the adoption of a plan for the country towns of Italy which had 
been already tested by private benefactors. The local evidence 
for the working of the State alimentary scheme is nowhere earlier 
than the succeeding principate and the system employed may have 
been different under Nerva,, but there is no doubt that it is to him 
that its initiation was due (see p, 2 io) 2 . Further relief to Italy was 
granted by the government's assumption of the costs of the cursus 
publicm^ which had hitherto been a serious burden on all who lived 
along the main arterial roads 3 . The colony of Scokcium was re- 
founded or re-inforced, and other Italian cities may have received 
similar attention 4 . The modest programme of public works which 
accompanied these measures reveals a similar imprint In Rome, 
little new building was begun ; the Forum transitorium, dedicated 
by Nerva, is a work for which the credit must be given to Domitian, 
and Nerva's only original contribution appears to be some 

1 Mattingly and Sydenham, op. cit. no. 89 (p. 229). Plebn urkanae 
frumento constitute* 

The suggestion (cf. J. Asbach, Rom. Kaisertum und Perfassung, pp, 1 88 
that it owed its origin to Domitian is hardly tenable. 

3 Imperial freedmen of this department first appear under Trajan: for his 
attempt to improve its efficiency cf. Aurelius Victor, Caes. xin, 6. Mattingly 
and Sydenham, op. cit. no. 93 (p. 229). Fehiculatwne Italia remissa, 

4 Dessau 5750. 

V, i] THE PROGRAMME OF 97 193 

granaries 1 * The year 97^ however, saw the appointment of Sex, 
Julius Frontinus to the cura aquarum^ and the beginning of a 
thorough and, if we may believe its author, long overdue re- 
organization of the water system of Rome. The restoration of the 
Via Appia was put in hand (p. 207) and repairs were carried out 
on the Tiburtina and the road from Puteoli to Naples, 

In the provinces Nerva., like his predecessors, is recorded to 
have tided some cities over their difficulties 2 ; and the number 
of milestones bearing his name testifies perhaps to particular 
instructions to governors to review and improve the communica- 
tions of their province 3 . But in general there is no doubt that 
Nerva's first aim lay nearer home in the restoration of Italian 

Prosperity. There remain a few other reforms which probably 
elong to this year. The immunity from the 5 per cent, succession 
duty for near kin, which had previously been withheld from new 
citizens who won their rights by imperial grant or by way of 
Latinitas, was extended to them to cover inheritances from father 
to son 4 , from mother to children and from children to mother. A 
special praetor was appointed to judge cases between the fiscus 
and private persons: and, as Pliny gratefully observes, 'saepius 
vincitur fiscus.* Laws were passed permitting cities to receive 
legacies, forbidding castration, and tightening up the table of 
kindred and affinity, this last no doubt with a reflection on the 
scandalous relations of Domitian and his niece. 

These measures were not passed by Nerva without a conscious 
return to constitutional practice; and the programme of 97 is 
accompanied in the coin series by a new type bearing the legend 
PROVIDENTIA SENATus. The scheme of land distribution was even 
embodied in a lex agraria and passed by the Comitia, the last 
recorded piece of legislation by that body. This policy, of social 
improvement and public utility, of honest government and equality 
before the law, reflects no doubt the aims not only of Nerva but of 
his immediate circle of friends, traditionalists like Verginius Rufus 

1 Dessau 1627, Perhaps also some alterations to the Colosseum; C.I.L+ 
vi, 32254. 

2 Aurelius Victor, Eplt. xn, 4. The evidence is meagre. The assistance 
to Citium in Cyprus at least belongs to 96 (Dessau 275, 1.G.R.R. in, 976), 
C CJ.L. m, 7146, 12041, 12238. Nerva founded the colony of Shifts 
(Setif) in Mauretania, and probably also that of Cuicul (Djemila) across the 
Numidian border (cf. R. Cagnat, Musee Beige xxvn, 1923, 1156), 

3 They are especially numerous in the Eastern provinces, where the lines 
of communication behind the frontier were being steadily improved. Cf. 
CJ.L. m, 68967, 6899, 7192, 121589, 14184, 

4 Provided he was in patrta potestate. See further, p. 213. 

C.A.H. xi 13 


and lawyers like Catlus Fronto together with a few, who, like the 
younger Pliny, had been brought up under their influence. It 
says no disparagement that it was pleasing to the Senate, that 
Pliny could write of reddita libertas and Tacitus of the blending 
of res olim dissociaUks frindpatum ac libertatem* Yet, however 
admirable might be Nerva's principles and his programme, his 
regime was bound to collapse if it could not keep the loyalty of 
the troops: and over this his precarious hold might be loosened by 
either of two events, a financial crisis resulting in arrears of pay, 
or the ambition of a popular general. 

The financial record of Nerva's government has been very 
variously appraised. It has been lauded as masterly and damned 
as extravagant and chaotic; both extreme views turn largely on 
one known event. At some date within the reign the Senate 
appointed a commission of five minuendis publicis sumptibus: this 
took place during the last illness of Verginius Rufus, an illness 
which Pliny describes as 'durior longiorque,' and which resulted 
from breaking his thigh while rehearsing a speech of thanks to 
Nerva. The speech .belongs to Verginius' consulship at the 
beginning of 97, and though we do not know at what point in 
his illness the commission was nominated, it may most likely be 
placed in the spring of that year. At least two of its members were 
designated to second consulships by Nerva, and one of these, 
Sex. lulius Frontinus (who had continued throughout the year 
as curator aquarum\ succeeded him as Trajan's colleague in 
January 9 8 . The appointment of such a commission as this was 
no innovation and there is no need to assume that it was a measure 
of panic. But a glance at Nerva's situation shows at once that he 
had cause for some anxiety, Suetonius says definitely of Domitian 
that it was only by wholesale confiscation that he could replenish 
a treasury compromised by the cost of his buildings, shows, and 
increase in military pay: and, whatever his motive in confiscation, 
the fact remains that money did so come in, and perhaps the extra 
burden of the rise in pay was not seriously felt in his time. But 
Nerva had suspended the charge of maiestas and returned what 
remained of the confiscated property; and he was thus left without 
the prospect of the considerable windfalls which had accrued to 
Domitian's exchequer. His relief of certain taxes meant a further 
though comparatively small drop in revenue; and besides these, 
in 97 he launched his own programme. It was hardly an extrava- 
gant one. The only large immediate outlay was that involved by 
the land-allotment scheme: but the 60 million sesterces which it 
cost were a non-recurrent charge. Domitian's increase of pay 


was costing an extra 60 millions every year, and while this may 
have been a justifiable reform, it cannot have escaped upsetting 
the balance of a treasury scarcely restored by the parsimony of 
Vespasian and already jeopardized by the expansive building 
schemes of Titus. Domitian in his turn had been a prolific 
builder and a lavish entertainer of the Roman populace; and he 
had left a fresh liability in the large annual subsidy with which 
he had pacified Decebalus in 89* Where was Nerva to retrench? 
Dio suggests that he met the expenses of the lex agraria by a sale 
of much of the personal estate which he inherited &$princeps, and 
in other directions he economized as much as possible. Himself 
of frugal tastes, he reduced the expenses of the imperial court 
to a minimum. But to cut down the soldiers' pay (by far the largest 
item in the imperial budget) was suicide: to cancel the Dacian 
subsidy was to invite a war for which the time was not yet ripe. 
Since neither of these courses, nor the imposition of fresh taxation, 
was open to a new and inevitably uneasy government, it is hardly 
surprising that we hear of few positive results from the economy 
commission 1 . Nerva was compelled to postpone any serious 
innovation and content himself with minor economies in enter- 
tainment to the Roman populace, already conciliated by the 
payment of the customary congiarium 2 * on accession, and provided 
for by the lex agraria. That the financial question was laid before 
the Senate is nothing remarkable: it is of a piece with the known 
policy of the reign. 

Meanwhile, however, the signs of the government's political 
weakness were multiplying. Some time in 97, when Pliny attacked 
a senior ex-praetor, Publicius Certus, who had been prominent 
in securing the conviction of Helvidius Priscus in 93, his consular 
friends, sceptical, it may be, of the vitality of the regime, tried to 
dissuade him, saying that he had made himself a marked man to 
future emperors, and reminding him that Publicius had powerful 
friends, especially the governor of Syria *qui tune ad orientem 

1 If G. Mickwitz, Arctos> m, 19334, p. i is correct in maintaining that 
the standard weight of the denarius which had been raised under Domitian. 
from 2-92 gr. to over 3-20, was reduced in 98 to its old level, this may have 
been one of the commission's recommendations: these would naturally not 
affect the coinage of 97. 

2 The sums realized by melting down the gold and silver statues of Domitian 
would help in this payment. In Nerva's short reign of 1 6 months it naturally 
bulks large, but to compare it to Domitian's total of such expenditure in 
1 6 years is a suggestlo falsL His only other gift was apparently a bequest p?^ 
after his death, 



amplissimutn et famosisslmum exercitum non sine magnis dublls- 
que rumoribus obtinebatV These rumours, indeed^ came to 
nothing, but the story is good evidence of the feeling of insecurity 
which succeeded the first few glorious months of reddita libertas* 
The attempt of C. Calpurnius Crassus to undermine the loyalty of 
the troops is significant only because of the mildness in senatorial 
eyes the culpable mildness with which Nerva punished it. The 
Emperor had sworn not to kill a senator, and in spite of plots he 
kept his oath. But in the end it was not from senatorial ambition 
that the gravest danger was to come. The praetorians had been 
rebellious ever since Domitian's death: suppressed by their leaders 
in 965 their dissatisfaction came to a head in the autumn of 97. 
In the interval these unpopular leaders, or Norbanus at least, 
had been superseded by the re-appointment of Casperius Aelianus, 
who had already served a term as Prefect under Domitian, So 
weak a move can only have been a desperate attempt at concilia- 
tion. But if this was Nerva's hope, it was vain. The praetorians 
rose, with Casperius at their head, and demanded the surrender 
of Domitian's murderers. Nerva attempted to resist and even 
offered his own throat, but he was brushed aside and Petronius, 
Parthenius and possibly others were put to death by the soldiers, 
Casperius went further and even compelled the Emperor to return 
thanks to the rebels before the assembled people for the execution 
of those to whom he owed his throne. 

Nerva's prestige in Rome had now suffered an irreparable blow, 
and on the publication of the news the final collapse of his regime 
could not be long delayed. He himself, deeply humiliated and 
oppressed by ill-health, seems to have thought of abdication ; but 
if this is true he was persuaded by his friends to try the only 
possible means of preventing civil war, by adopting at once as 
heir one who could command the loyalty of the legionary troops 
and could overawe the praetorians. The choice fell on M. Ulpius 
Traianus, who, as commander of the army of Upper Germany, was 
in the best position of any provincial governor to coerce the Roman 
insurgents, and also, perhaps, to march on Rome on his own 
account if some less accessible general were preferred to him* 
What sort of pressure, if any, was put on Nerva to select Trajan 
remains unknown 2 ; Trajan never showed any personal respect 

1 Ep. ix, 13, 22. Possibly L. Javolenus Priscus (Dessau 1015). 

2 It cannot be^ recovered from Aurelius Victor, JBfit. xra, 7, which 
assigns a part to Licinius Sura, a fellow Spaniard, who may have held at this 
time an official position in Germany or Belgicaj c Groag in P.W. s.v. 
Licinius (167) Sura, col. 475 sq. Plmy (Pan. 5, 10) is explicit that Trajan 
had long been the popular choice. 


or affection for Nerva, rather the contrary. But if his strategic 
command was a potent factor, there might be other and more 
disinterested recommendations. He was now in the prime of 
life, and while his career had been spent almost entirely in military 
service, which had taken him, says Pliny, from end to end of the 
empire, there are grounds for supposing that during recent years 
he had suffered in silence at Rome like other senators 1 . He was 
thus a man, and one of the only men alive, who could both 
sympathize with the Senate and command the respect of the armies. 
That he was not related to Nerva, who passed over several possible 
heirs among his own kinsmen (p. 189), was not perhaps a dis- 
advantage. His Spanish descent, on the other hand, might in 
easier circumstances have shocked the conservatives; but with 
the State crumbling * ruens imperium super Imperatorem ' they 
could not be too nice 2 . Moreover, of all provincials the Romans 
of Spain had long been recognized as second only to the Italian- 
born, and Trajan's father had himself been a much respected 
senator, an ex-consul and proconsul of Asia, and the holder of 
triumphal decorations 3 . Finally, whatever the reasons which 
prompted it, the choice was abundantly justified in the result. 
Not only was civil war averted, but the present discord was 
immediately stilled and the Empire entered upon a long period of 
practically unruffled internal harmony. 

The formal adoption was carried through without delay. The 
Suebi had apparently been giving trouble again on the Upper 
Danube, and the welcome news of a victory gave Nerva his 
opportunity 4 . Having, as pontifex maximus> deposited the laurel 
from the despatch on the knees of the cult-statue of Juppiter, 
he turned to the assembled people and from the steps of the Capitol 
announced his adoption of Trajan. Unlike the furtive and irregular 
procedure followed in the case of Piso in 69, the ceremony, 
barring Trajan's absence, was performed with full legal forms, 
The conferment of honours followed in the Senate, Trajan was 
given the title of Caesar and the powers that marked a censors 
imperil: Pliny compares his position to that of Titus in his 

1 Pliny, Pan. 44. - 2 p } in }> ?* 5 6 - 

3 Spanish influence was strong at Rome at this time; among prominent 
representatives were Licinius Sura, M. Annius Verus, L. Julius Ursus 
Servianus and the notorious Marius Priscus. 

4 Pliny, Pan, 8. Cf. Dessau 2720, which records the decoration by Nerva 
of a tribune of leg. I Adiutrix for service in this war. 

5 On the problem of the dating of Trajan's tribunicia pot es fas cf. the works 
cited in the bibliography. His first year ran till autumn 98 and was then 


father's life-time, and when, shortly after, Nerva took the title 
of Germanicus for the victories over the Suebi, Trajan received 
this title also. It was now the winter of 97, Nerva lived three 
months longer, but he did not see his adopted son. Trajan re- 
mained on the frontier and did not visit Rome at all till 99, 
though his hand may be seen in the appointments at this^time of 
his trusted friends Servianus and Sura to the command of Upper 
and Lower Germany and perhaps in that of C. Pompeius Planta 
to Egypt. The three months passed quietly. In January 98 Nerva 
entered on his fourth and Trajan his second consulship ; and on 
the 25th of that month Nerva died of a feverish chill and Trajan 
succeeded to the Empire. 

The rule of Nerva has in the past been uncritically praised 
by many historians. The sun of senatorial approval and the clear 
sky at his death have made it too easy to forget the dark clouds 
that hung over the greater part of the reign. Civil war was never 
very far away and for a short "while in the autumn of 97, when 
Casperius was virtually master of Rome, it must have seemed to 
many unescapable* Yet the Empire owed a debt to Nerva and the 
small cabal of elderly nobles who formed his entourage. Of those 
whose share is attested, Verginius Rufus was over 80, Vestricius 
Spurinna 73, Corellius Rufus 68, Arrius Antoninus about 65, 
Julius Frontinus about 60, Nerva himself 66 1 , They were con- 
fronted by difficulties which might well have conquered younger 
and more active men. Most of them had been retired from public 
life for many years, and to the serving army the best known of 
them can have been little more than a name. But they succeeded: 
the fact remains that civil war did not break out. The crisis 
was tided over, and a new era opened. The series of adoptions 
begun by Nerva may not have been founded on any principle 2 , 
may indeed have been a series of accidents, but the childlessness 

followed by a short period, probably till Dec. 10, from which it was renewed 
regularly. There are difficulties in any view but the inscriptions strongly 
suggest a renewal date close to Jan. i, while certain coins prove, if they 
may be trusted, that it must be before the New Year. 

1 Behind these, two younger groups can be distinguished; the first con- 
sisting of lawyers and peaceful administrators like Pliny, Catius Fronto, 
Sosius Senecio and Cornutus Tertullus, nearly all either actually or spiritually 
related to the older group, the second of soldiers, largely of provincial origin, 
like Trajan, Sura, Servianus, Cornelius Palma and the unknown of Dessau 
1019 (? Annius Verus). 

2 There is nothing in Dio Chrysostom, the philosophic mouthpiece of 
the Trajanic regime, to commend such a principle: indeed the suggestions 
of Or. in, 119 seem even to favour a dynastic succession. 


of the succeeding emperors at least preserved Rome for nearly 
a hundred years from the whims of heredity; and a new standard 
was set in the government. Empire and liberty were reconciled. 
It was not the liberty of the Republic. That could now never 
return and can hardly have been regretted by the existing Senate. 
But the liberalism of Nerva was a reaction valuable and indeed 
essential to the safe working of the administrative system. If 
imperial forbearance did lead at first to a few cases of senatorial 
misgovernment, the provinces benefited on the whole from the 
assurance of peaceful conditions; and it is impossible to doubt 
the accumulated evidence of the contentment and prosperity of 
the Empire in the succeeding years. 


The news of his accession reached Trajan at Cologne after a 
race of messengers, won by his cousin and future successor 
P. Aelius Hadrianus. The Emperor, however, despite popular 
appeal 1 , did not return to Rome at once. The removal of Aelianus 
and the leaders of the praetorian outbreak was a sufficient assur- 
ance of peace at home and there was work to be completed on the 
German frontier. The months since his adoption had given Trajan 
time to think out an imperial policy, of which the leading idea, 
shaped in part perhaps by the financial needs of the Empire, was 
a rehandling of the Dacian problem. But even to re-assert Roman 
prestige effectively on the middle and lower Danube demanded 
careful preparation, and in particular an organization of the Rhine 
and upper Danube provinces which should enable reinforcements 
to be sent, if needed, for a Dacian campaign ; and this, owing to 
the progress made on these frontiers under the Flavians, it was 
now possible to achieve. Trajan, therefore, contented himself with 
letters of goodwill to the Senate, which included an oath to abstain 
from tyranny, and a refusal of the title of pater patriae*, and re- 
mained in the north until 99. In the spring of that year he set 
out for Rome, and after a journey which was in deliberate contrast 
to Domitian's exigent progressions, he entered the city on foot 
amid enthusiastic demonstrations from all classes of the citizens. 

1 Martial x, 6; 7, Pliny, Pan, 22. Cf. for coins, P. L. Strack, Die 
Reichspragungzur Zeit des Tr titans* pp. 769 and Volume of Plates, v, 126. 

2 Pliny, Pan. 21, corroborated by its absence from coins. But see ib. 57 
and Strack, op. at. p. 20 sq. for evidence that he had accepted the tide by 
October 98, All coins, however, bear the title ofponfifex maximus, Strack, 
op. cit. p. 22, n. 50- 


The difficulties which beset any attempt to summarize and 
appraise the events of Trajan's reign are, in the main, of two kinds. 
The first and greatest is the inadequacy of the literary sources. 
It is the historian deprived of their help who is least contemptuous 
of the value of Suetonius and the Historla Augusta^ as he bitterly 
recalls the famous lament of Gibbon (who himself did not attempt 
the task) that he must 'collect the actions of Trajan from the 
glimmerings of an abridgement or the doubtful light of a pane- 
gyric.' The sixty-eighth book of Cassius Dio's history, as pre- 
served mainly in the eleventh-century epitome of Xiphilinus, is 
indeed the corner-stone of any reconstruction of the reign ; but 
it is not of a material which any prudent builder would choose. 
The Panegyric of Pliny, delivered during his consulship in ioo 5 
is a tolerable authority for events down to that date, and facts of 
importance can be gleaned from his letters, and especially from 
the official correspondence which he conducted with Trajan as 
governor of Bithynia in 1 1 1 1 13. For the rest the historian must 
be content with a sentence of Trajan's own commentaries on the 
Dacian war, a fable of the Emperor Julian, and a number of 
scattered references, most of them of doubtful value, and of a 
later age. He has, however, one advantage denied to Gibbon. 
The epigraphical evidence for the reign is comparatively abundant, 
#nd with the help of the coins 1 makes a fairly full chronological 
reconstruction possible. The second difficulty is one of judgment. 
Unlike Domitian, Trajan was popular with the class from which 
contemporary writers were drawn, and, unlike him, he was suc- 
ceeded by one who, though in many ways the antithesis of himself, 
was favourable to his memory. The tradition is therefore almost 
wholly laudatory 2 . The example of Domitian and his own tem- 
perament preserved Trajan from the grosser forms of adulation ; but 
flatterers soon found a way to please him too, and there are passages 
in the Panegyric of Pliny with which a Martial or a Statius would 
have been proud to charm Domitian's palate. Die merely echoes 
the verdict of the contemporary tradition, and is, for example, 
at pains to gloss over even Trajan's private vices 3 . The praise 
of Trajan was the corollary of the vilification of Domitian, and 
there is no doubt that the pendulum swung too far. But a modern 

1 The evidence of the coins is particularly rich for this reign and has 
recently been brilliantly arranged and discussed by Strack, op. cit. 

2 For an exception see Or. SibylL xii; a Jew would have the best of reasons 
for not approving of Trajan. 

s Drink and boys, Dio JLXVHI, 7; Nerva was also reproached with 
vinolentia, Aurelius Victor, Cats. xm IO (unsupported)*. 


critic must be on his guard lest in redressing the balance he make 
the contrary error. Trajan was popular in his lifetime and his 
memory remained green, and that in an age which, like Tacitus' 
own, is infensa virtutibus is hard to forgive ; for him, as for Agricola, 
his laudators have proved a pessimum genus inimicorum. 

Early in September of the year 100, the younger Pliny, newly 
elected consul, rose in the Senate to render public thanks for his 
election. It was a great opportunity. The recent consulship of 
Trajan, the first since becoming emperor, had shed a brighter 
lustre on his successors in his year; and no doubt a splendid 
contribution was expected from an orator of Pliny's standing. 
The new consul apologized for his inadequacy, but he did not 
scamp his theme. For several hours the Senate listened while 
Pliny expounded the virtues of the reigning prince, the misdeeds 
of Domitian, and his ideals of the imperial government. The spirits 
of the reader, far removed from the circumstances of the time, 
may flag beneath the reiterations of his panegyric, but of his 
sincerity there can be no doubt; and for many of his facts there 
is evidence more concrete than his own polished phrases. At 
about the same time the philosopher Dio Chrysostom delivered 
before Trajan the first of his sermons upon kingship, in striking 
accord with the tone of Pliny's speech 1 , and from a comparison of 
the two the ideals of the new regime emerge in sharp outline. Both 
paint the princeps as the first servant of the State, but neither is 
under any illusion as to the supremacy of his position over all 
other parties to the government. The difference between dominatio 
and principatuS) stressed by both Dio and Pliny 2 , lay in the dis- 
tinction between a master and a leader. The spearhead of the 
hatred against Domitian had been not his power, but his misuse 
of it. It was the capacity for leadership which Trajan possessed 
and which Domitian so conspicuously lacked which enabled him 
to carry through many of Domitian's political aims with the 
approval and even at the request of the senators themselves. 

The career of Trajan as a privatus had indeed simplified his 
task. His own choice of a soldier's life was no doubt responsible 
for the length of his service as a tribunus miliium (see p. 136); 

1 The character of Dio's speech as a philosophical discourse precluded 
him from the direct address of Pliny, but he himself took care that his 
reference to Trajan should not be missed, Or. r, 36. 

2 E.g. Dio Chrys. Or. i, 22, c Or. m, 48; Pan. 2, 24, 45, 63-5. Pliny's 
address of Trajan as "domine* in his letters should not be stressed as incon- 
sistent. In the epistolary vocative it had probably become only the normal 
address of an inferior to a superior official^ Cf. -Dessau 5 7 95. Seep, 412, n. 8. 


from Ms father's son no more than the statutory minimum would 
have been required. He thus learnt the frontiers and the con- 
ditions of military service as a subordinate, and even later, though 
he had personal knowledge of the tyranny in Rome 1 , much of his 
time had been spent abroad. Naturally easy of access, he had 
already firmly planted his hold on the legions, and at the same 
time his years of absence had set him a little apart from the gossip 
and Intrigue of senatorial circles at Rome: in Pliny's speech and 
early letters, if one makes all allowances for the circumstances of 
their composition, there is something of a stranger's tone. But 
any doubts in Rome of his deportment were quickly resolved on 
his arrival. He made no claims to divine honours and showed 
himself as reluctant as the senators to participate in the ceremonies 
of royalty. The swaying palanquin, with its imperious outriders, 
the embracing of the emperor's feet, the kissing of his hand, 
and all the degrading symbols of an Oriental monarchy (p. 43), 
remained only as the memory of an evil dream. The palace, over 
which Nerva had inscribed the words 'publicae aedes,' was so in 
fact, in contrast to that 'specus' in which an 'inmanissima belua* 
had licked the blood of his kinsmen and meditated the slaughter of 
the chief men in the State. The chilly receptions at which Domitian 
had disdained even to eat with his compulsory guests were re- 
placed by friendly informal gatherings at which a man might say 
what he liked and could attend or not as he pleased. 

Trajan himself was far from greedy of worldly honours: the 
fame he coveted was above trifles. The celebrated epigram of the 
Emperor Constantine which described Trajan as a herba parietaria 
has been used to convey a false impression since the days of 
Ammianus Marcellinus, who first interpreted it to mean that 
Trajan deliberately suppressed the memorials of earlier builders; 
in the original phrase there is no more than a humorous reference 
to the extent of his public works in Rome 2 . On the other hand, 
in at least one case we have epigraphical evidence that he con- 
formed to ordinary standards 3 ; and his existing inscriptions show 
an attitude the reverse of vainglorious. He had refused to hold 
the consulship in absence in 99; his tenure in 100, attended with 
a strict adherence to traditional forms habitually flouted by his 
predecessors, was a natural corollary of his return, and he 
signalized it by elevating in the same year two others to a like 
number of consulships with himself. In 101 he was persuaded, 

1 Pan. 44, 72, See above, p, 197. 

2 Aurelius Victor, Epit. XLI, 13; Ammian. Marc, xxvir, 3, 7. 

3 C.LL. vi, 1275, c D. R. Stuart, Class, PML in, 1908, p. 59. 


according to Pliny for this reason among others, to hold a fourth; 
but he added only two more, in 103 after the first Dacian war 
and lastly in 112, the year of the inauguration of his forum. 
Thirteen salutations make a modest showing for a martial emperor 
beside the twenty-two of Domitian or the twenty-seven of Claudius, 
and as for the name of Optimus, already in public use by loo 1 , 
he did not permit its inclusion among his official titles for nearly 
fifteen years : the titles of censor and praefectus morum he refused 

Trajan was wise. By his openheartedness and natural manners 
he won the love of the two most influential classes in the State : 
the soldiers and the Senate. His soldiers he knew to their nick- 
names and he commanded their unquestioning loyalty: to Pliny 
he was 'one of us,' and by a scrupulous observance of senatorial 
customs he bound their affection still more closely. He was thus 
enabled on the one hand to tighten the discipline of the army and 
on the other to pursue his political ends without serious dis- 
content 2 . The Senate indeed recognized its incapacity to govern. 
Vastly changed in personnel since Julio-Claudian days 3 it now 
contained few of a type not ready to follow the imperial lead, 
content with the position of superior civil servant, and under 
Domitian it had still further lost its power of initiative. His reign 
left behind it a rising generation of senators unversed in the arts 
of government and unfitted for responsibility 3 . Time was needed 
for their recovery to a sense of their own dignity, before they could 
rise to high ideals of public service* Watched by Domitian, the 
provincial governors had behaved particularly well; to afford him 
just excuse for severity was simple suicide. But the indulgent 
policy of Nerva brought a quick reaction in a crop of provincial 
scandals. If the Senate had learnt anything from recent experi- 
ence, it was a sense of solidarity. Menaced together and forced 
to pass sentence on each other against their judgment, they were 
in no mood for fresh convictions now, even if the offence were 
plainly proved; and weak or rapacious governors were not slow 
to take advantage of this expectation of leniency, 

1 Pan. 2, 91. Cf. R. P. Longden in J.R.S. xxi, 1931, p. 10, n. 4. For 
other examples of his modesty, see e.g. Pan. 20, 21, 24, 45, 52, 5460, 83-4. 

2 Trace of conspiracies, in which apparently Crassus (p. 196) was again 
concerned, is found in Dio JLXVTII, 5, 16; S.H.A. Hadr. 5, One of these 
attempts, perhaps that of Laberius Maximus, may have been serious enough 
to justify the award of the title piafidelis to leg, I Adiutrix, cf. Ritterling, 
P.W.> s.v. legio, coL 1389. 

8 C Tac. Jgr. 3, Plin. JEp. vm, 14. 


During the next five years the services of Pliny as advocate 
were retained in at least four trials for provincial misgovernment 1 . 
In the first three the chief offenders had all received their nomi- 
nations under Nerva; all were guilty of corruption and two at 
least, Marius Priscus (a Spaniard) in Africa and Caecilius Classicus 
(an African) in Spain, of callous brutality as well, while the in- 
iquities of Julius Bassus in Bithynia are less clearly known since 
Pliny himself was for the defence on this occasion. The results 
were not re-assuring. Under Trajan's personal presidency in 100 
the Senate did pass the harsher of the two sentences proposed on 
Priscus 2 , but in other cases they were as complaisant as they dared. 
Classicus died before his trial, but in the subsequent proceedings 
against his subordinates senatorial defendants received marked 
favour, and Bassus though found guilty retained his full rights 
on the mere repayment of damages. The fourth case, also from 
Bithynia, ended in confusion and a promise from Trajan to 
investigate conditions in the province, a promise which ultimately 
matured in the special appointment of Pliny as an imperial gover- 
nor. The criticism of these decisions even within the Senate aided 
Trajan's efforts to secure more capable administration without 
impairing senatorial prestige. Bithynia at least had been not only 
corruptly but inefficiently governed by men whose annual terms of 
office were inadequate for a proper understanding of its problems. 
The impunity of a few guilty proconsuls was a small matter if the 
Senate should voluntarily acquiesce in a closer imperial control 
of their provinces. 

But it was not here alone that senatorial shortcomings were 
manifest. Their conduct of elections showed a like sacrifice of 
public interests to personal friendships and advantage, while some 
were even too worthless to discharge their duty with dignity. 
This was the upshot of depriving an assembly with still consider- 
able legal rights and administrative duties of all actual responsi- 
bility. Their present unfitness and necessary dependence Pliny 
sadly admits, while he is not ashamed to appreciate the crumbs 
of government which Trajan let fall to the Senate 3 . Trajan's power, 
in fact, was no less complete than had been that of Doinitiati ; 
only the spirit of its exercise was different* Not only had he 
renounced divine honours; he had admitted the supremacy of 

1 Pliny, JSp. ii, ii j HI, 9; iv, 95 v, 20; vn, 6, 105 for the dates, cf. 
A. von Premerstein, Btzy.S.B. 1934, 3, pp. 72-86. 

2 Though even that was too mild; cf. Juvenal i, 49. 

3 Pliny, f. ni, 20; iv, 255 c also m, 75 v, 13 (14); vr, 195 ix, 2, 


the laws over the emperor's will 1 . He counted senators his friends 
and recognized the influence of their prestige ; and by consulting 
them on imperial issues even while retaining the decision in his 
own hands aimed at reconciling them to a position in some ways 
parallel to that of his judicial consilium* His firm control of the 
army banished fears of a military tyranny. Life and property 
were safe. In short he had given the upper classes of the Roman 
world a new deal : and they were prepared to follow his lead 2 , 


In his third oration on kingship Dio Chrysostorn concludes 
his account of the ideal ruler by the following summary of his 
activities; 'he reviews an army, subdues a province, founds a city, 
bridges rivers and builds roads.' Trajan's military career must 
be the subject of a separate chapter: but a survey of the admini- 
stration of one who earned a reputation as a great builder may 
fairly begin with his public works. At Rome, the early years 
were not spectacular. Pliny describes the Emperor as 'parcus in 
aedificando ' ; though it is true that he is referring mainly to private 
building for imperial use, of which Domitian had been lavish. 
But beyond the vague mention of porticus and delubra he can 
find nothing to record except the well-known restoration and 
extension of the Circus Maximus 3 . It is possible that the repair 
of the temple of Augustus, which is mainly, if not entirely, Domi- 
tian's work, was not completed till ioi 4 : and tolerably certain 
that a temple of Nerva was at least begun by ioo 5 . Coins of 100 
show a triumphal arch, which is now generally identified with 
the so-called Arch of Drusus on the Via Appia, of which it per- 
haps commemorated the partial reconstruction completed in this 

1 Nunc primum disco y non est ^princeps supra leges* sed * 'leges supra prin- 
cipem? idemque Caesar I consult quod ceteris non licet y Pliny, Pan. 65. 

2 For the immense influence of the imperial example in both private and 
public Hfe, cf. Tacitus, Ann* m, 55; Pliny, Pan. 44, 45. 

3 The work was evidently not finished when Pliny wrote: Dessau 286, 
which appears to record the same extension, belongs to 103; and with this 
date the commemorative coins agree. C Strack, op. ctt. pp. 145 $qq* 

4 Platner-Ashby, pp. 623, 84. The Odeum too, which is called one 
of Apollodorus' greatest achievements, may have undergone some changes, 
though it is substantially Domitianic, Dio LXIX, 4, 1 5 cf. Pausanias, v, 
12, 6. 

5 Pan. 1 1 ; Strack, op. cit. pp. 147 $qq* 9 thinks he can recognize it on coins 
of about 1034. A third unidentified temple is recorded on coins of the same 


year, just as the arch at Beneventum later marked the Via 
Traiana. The other undertakings for which an early date is con- 
firmed were of a more general utility. The series of terminal stones 
of the years 101 and 103 bear witness to fresh activity in the 
department of the curator alvd et rip arum Tiberis^ and in the 
former year for the first time the addition et doacarum urbis is 
found in the title of the curator. The danger to Rome from flood, 
which was the special concern of this office, was further met by 
the construction of a canal to carry off the flood water; its precise 
date and locality, however^ are still uncertain 1 . Meanwhile a 
similar energy was shown by the office of the euro, aquarum. 
Besides minor improvements, the Anio Novus was extended at 
its source to tap fresh and better supplies., and the Marcia within 
the city in order to serve the Aventine. These changes initiated 
by Nerva were completed in the early years of Trajan's reign. 

But the greater part by far of his work in Rome belongs to 
the period between the Dacian and Parthian wars* In 109 the 
Baths on the Oppian, the Aqua Traiana, and the Naumachia were 
dedicated and opened to public use 2 . For the first of these Trajan's 
great architect Apollodorus used a space adjoining the Baths of 
Titus on the site of the former donius aurea of Nero 3 ; the Nau- 
machia were probably situated on the right bank of the Tiber 
near the castle of S. Angelo and fed by the Aqua Traiana, which 
brought water from the lake of Bracciano to serve mainly the 
industrial quarter of Trastevere 4 . Other baths, adjoining his 
house on the Aventine, were bequeathed to the Roman people 
by Licinius Sura on his death about no 5 . In 1 13 the temple of 
Venus in the Forum of Caesar was re-opened 6 ; but a theatre in the 
Campus Martius which Hadrian is said to have pulled down pro- 
bably never got beyond an early stage of construction. 7 . All these 
works were, however, dwarfed by the great Forum Traiani, the 
largest and most splendid of the imperial Fora, and the marvel 
of succeeding ages, which was dedicated by Trajan in January, 

1 Dessau 5797*7 (after 102). It was only partially successful, c Pliny, 
Ep. vin, 17. 

3 Ann. epig. 1934, no. 30, the new Fasti Ostienses, on which in general 
cf. Ch, Hulsen, Rh. Mm. LXXXII, 1933, p* 362. 

3 Probably further damaged by fire in 1 04, Jerome, Chron, ad. arm. 2 1 20. 

4 Dessau 290; Strack op. at. pp. 1924* 

5 C Groag, in P.W. s.v. Licinius (167) Sura, col. 481 sq. 

6 jfnn. epig. 1934, no. 30. The elaborate restoration of this temple may 
have been at least begun by Domitian; see below, p. 781. 

7 S.H.A. Hadr* g. A temple to Fortuna, mentioned only by Lydus 
(de mens. iv, 7), is still unidentified. 


112 (p. 781 j<^.). The complete group of buildings filled a space 
some five times as great as the Forum of Augustus, and contained 
the Basilica Ulpia, two libraries, the Column of Trajan and the 
temple of Trajan and Plotina, erected by Hadrian. The architect 
of the group was Apollodorus. The forum itself, rectangular in 
shape, was surrounded on three sides by a marble colonnade 
pierced on the south-east by an entrance arch which was still in 
process of construction during the Parthian wars. On the long 
sides it was flanked by semicircular courts built against and into 
the slope of the Capitoline and Quirinal hills. For the buildings 
which surrounded these courts considerable excavation was 
necessary, and it is probably this work which was proclaimed in 
the dedicatory inscription at the base of the column 1 . The column 
itself, 100 feet high 2 and of Parian marble, was entirely covered 
by a spiral frieze commemorating the Dacian wars (p. 225); 
it was surmounted by a statue of the Emperor, and afterwards 
housed his ashes. 

The communications of Italy, both external and internal, were 
one of Trajan's main concerns in his attempt to buttress her 
economic structure; and here, too, a similar distinction between 
the earlier and later parts of his reign is apparent. The re-making 
of the Via Appia, begun by Nerva, was continued and by I oo was 
complete as far as the 48th milestone at Forum Appii. From this 
point the difficulties were more serious and further work was 
postponed. Milestones also record repairs on the Via Aemilia in 
100, Puteolana in 102 (begun by Nerva), Sublacensis in 1035 
and Latina in 105 (restoration of a bridge over the Liris). More 
substantial work was undertaken after the Dacian wars. The Via 
Appia was completed by the building of a sound road through the 
Pomptine marshes, the stretch from Forum Appii to Terracina, 
in 1 10. The Via Salaria was repaired in 1 1 1, the Latina further 
in 115, and a bridge on the Flaminia in the same year. In 108 
a series of improvements was carried out on the Clodian-Cassian 
group of roads leading through Etruria; these alterations bore 
the title of Tres Traianae or Traiana Nova. Of greater signi- 
ficance, however, was the Via Traiana itself and the harbours 
which Trajan built on both coasts of Italy. The Via Traiana 
diverged from the Appia at Beneventum and ran through Canossa 
and Bari to BrindisL A road here had existed since Republican 

1 Dessau 294.. The restoration of the inscription has been much disputed. 
C the references in Platner-Ashby, op. cit. pp. 238, 242. 

2 With the pedestal the total height was 128 feet. 


times 1 , but It was now entirely re-made and perhaps first numbered 
among the public roads of Italy at this time. The milestones, of 
which some thirty have been found, bear the date io9 2 . Of the 
harbours, that of Ostia, which alone is represented on the coins, 
was the most important. Trajan's work here was an extension and 
improvement of that of Claudius 3 , which still ^ failed to provide 
adequate shelter for shipping. An interior basin was excavated, 
hexagonal in shape, and surrounded with buildings; and round 
the two harbours, the Claudian and the Trajanic, a town grew 
up and ultimately became independent of Ostia, which itself 
shows traces of Trajanic work. Farther north new harbours at 
Centumcellae and Ancona, built after the Dacian wars, filled a 
need on both western and eastern coasts; the dedicatory arch at 
Ancona, of A.D. 115, bears words which echo the purpose of all 
Trajan's work in Italy, * quod accessum Italiae, hoc etiam addito 
ex pecunia sua portu, tutiorem navigantibus reddidit 4 / Of rather 
less importance was a similar restoration at Terracina, connected 
with the earlier phase of the work on the Via Appia 5 . Between 
1 1 57 reclamation was undertaken on the shores of the Fucine 
lake, and the Claudian drainage system was probably overhauled; 
and undated traces of fresh work or repairs to aqueducts are 
recorded from various parts of the peninsula 6 . 

The wealth of public buildings in the provinces reflects no 
doubt the influence of Trajan's example ; but to determine his actual 
share is another matter. For not every dedication in Trajan's case 
they were legion marks gratitude for a particular beneficence 7 . 

1 It was followed without approval by Horace in 37 B.C. (Sat. i, 5). 

2 It is not commemorated on coins before 112; but it is by no means a 
certain inference that it was not completed before that date. C,LL. ix 9 37 
records a dedication to Trajan by the city of Brindisi in no. The earliest 
known curator was Q. Roscius Caelius Pompeius Falco, between no and 
116 (Dessau 1036). As a consular, he was probably the first holder of the 
office. For the course of the road see T. Ashby and R. Gardner, B.S.R. 
via, 1917, pp. 104-171. 

3 Vol. x, p. 689. The coins are not earlier than 112 (Straek, op. at, 
p. 213). * Dessau 298. 

5 Dessau 282 (before 103). It is perhaps this to which Pliny refers in 
Pan. 29. A new harbour at Ariminum is even more dubious (R. Paribeni, 
Optimus Prmctps, ir, p. 119). 

6 Centumcellae (contemporary with the harbour), Forum Clodiurn 
(probably about 109), Subiaco, Talamone near Orbetello (after 103) and 
perhaps Ravenna, 

7 The city of Lyttus in Crete, for example, put up at least one annually 
for years and to Plotina and Marciana (Trajan's wife and sister) also, 
LG.R.R. i, 982999. The usual phrase is r<$> tcrLcrrr) 7-779 oifco 
direct benefits are generally marked by r$ iBlp /criarp or the like. 


The Blthynian letters of Pliny show how forward the Greek 
cities were themselves in building, and much was due also 
to private donors who would generally include the emperor in 
their dedications. We stand indeed on the threshold of an age of 
unparalleled generosity 1 , in which rich men counted it an honour 
to spend money for the service of their city. This public spirit was 
directly fostered by the emperors, by example, exhortation and 
edict. Nerva made it legal for cities to receive legacies; Trajan 
enacted that what a man promised to his city he must perform, 
and the obligation descended to his heir. Where Trajan was 
himself concerned, his motive, as in Italy, was public utility 
roads, bridges, harbours, aqueducts. Milestones bear witness to 
roadmaking in nearly every province, and their dates permit some 
narrower conclusions. In Spain, for example, they are especially 
numerous and early (98105; but mostly 98100). They reflect 
no doubt Trajan's interest In the land of his origin, and probably 
still more the needs which he had observed as a legionary legate 
under Domitian. Some roads, notably those from Asturica to 
Emerita (989) and to Caesaraugusta (100) seem to have been 
entirely re-made 2 . It is clear that orders to repair the Spanish 
road system were among the first which he issued as emperor. 

The stones from the German provinces date from instructions 
given before his return to Rome in 99; the Numidian roads 
belong mostly to 100 i and 1045 and are a corollary of the 
founding of Thamugadi, the encirclement of the Aur&s and the 
removal of the camp of leg. Ill Augusta to Lambaesis within 
this period (p. 147). The work in Cappadocia was a continuation 
of that of the Flavians and Nerva; in Arabia (p, 238), Dacia 
(p. 2,32) and Mesopotamia (p. 247) it was the natural result of 
annexation; and this applies indirectly to the other Danube 
provinces. The rest seems on the present evidence to have been 
merely the answer to general instructions to see that the efficiency 
of the roads was maintained. Among other works the great 
bridges at Drobetae over the Danube, built by Apollodorus about 
104, and at Alcantara over the Tagus by Julius Lacer In 105 
take precedence over others near Simitthu in Africa, in Spain and 
elsewhere; aqueducts are recorded at lader in Dalmatla, Miletus, 
Smyrna, Antioch, and in Arabia and Egypt, and harbour works 
at Ephesus 3 : in Egypt an old canal between the Nile and Red Sea 

1 M. RostovtzefF, A$W. and Econ. Hist. pp. 141 sq., 522. 

2 Most but not all of the roads belong to the western and north-western 
parts of Spain. 

3 The presence at Ephesus at the time (103114) of a man who had 
earlier been/>r0/w portuum prov* Stc. **iay be noted, Dessau 7193. 

C.A.H. xi 14 


was reopened to traffic, and acquired the name of 'Trajan's river 1 / 
The private enterprise of the period, where it can be dated, belongs 
mainly to the period between the Dacian and Parthian wars, 
no doubt fulfilling many vows undertaken for the Emperor's 
success In Dacia. 

Something more drastic, however, than the mere Improvement 
of communications was needed to restore the prosperity of Italy 
and to enable her to maintain her position of supremacy within 
the empire; and the dominant character of the measures now 
inaugurated was an Interest in the rising generation. The creation 
of trust funds for child maintenance was not a new thing in the 
Roman world. At least as early as the princlpate of Claudius or 
Nero, one T. Helvius Basila had provided a sum of 400,000 
sesterces for maintenance grants at Atina and for the presentation 
of 1000 sesterces to each child on coming of age 2 : and it is likely 
that under the Flavians there were similar private benefactions 
of which no record has survived. It may indeed have been in 
Domitian's time that the younger Pliny made his provision for 
the people of Comum 3 . His method was to saddle an estate of 
his, worth half a million sesterces or more, with a perpetual 
charge of 30,000 a year; and this sum, paid annually to the local 
authority, was to be distributed in alimenta to free-born boys 
and girls. The adoption of such a scheme by the State was one 
of Nerva's remedial measures for Italy undertaken in A.D. 97. 
The details and progress of his plan, however, are unknown, 
and the first local evidence belongs to the principate of Trajan. 

In A.D. 101 a grant was made to the Ligures Baebiani near 
Beneventum, and in the same year the citizens of Florence co-opted 
T. Pomponius Bassus as a patron of their municipality in return 
for the way in which he had carried out similar duties as a com- 
missioner in their district 4 . Pomponius re-appears in the so-called 
Table of Veleia, which supplies fuller evidence of the system 
employed 5 . The fiscus provided the funds in the form of credit 
to local landowners, who charged certain of their estates in return 
with a perpetual interest of 5 p.c. on the sum received from the 
fiscusi this interest was used for maintenance grants to local 
children in need. The scale of payments has been preserved: 
boys received more than girls, sixteen sesterces a month against 
twelve, and more than seven times as many were supported ; such 

1 PtoL iv, 5. 2 Dessau 977. 

3 Pliny, Ep. i 9 8; vu, 18. 4 Dessau 6509, 6106. 

5 Dessau 6675, dated between 103-1 14, but incorporating the results of 
at least one earlier scheme. 


details, subject to a general recommendation from the government, 
were perhaps left to local initiative. The children of Rome were 
also assisted by enrolment in the lists of those qualified to receive 
the distributions of free corn within the city, and by A.D. 100 
some five thousand had already been enrolled 1 . Pliny underlines 
the object of these grants, the encouragement of free Roman 
citizens to beget and bring up children s the spes Romani nominis. 
His special reference is to the City, but his sentiments have a 
wider application, and they find an echo in the monuments and 
on the coins of the reign. Already in the earlier years (but after 
103) the Spes issue, both by Senate and princeps^ refers to the 
hopes which were founded on the alimentary system 2 , but from 
1 08 onwards, Trajan's decennial year, when the first generation 
of recipients was already growing to manhood, the coins celebrate 
the scheme more directly in the series stamped ALIM(ENTATIO) 
ITAL(IAE) and ITAL(IA) REST(ITUTA), and in both it is the assistance 
to children which the design emphasizes. Two reliefs from the arch 
of Beneventum and one from a balustrade in the Forum Romanum 
illustrate the same theme (p. 788). 

The united testimony of the evidence, written, sculptural, and 
numismatic, compels the inference that the main purpose of the 
alimentary scheme was the encouragement of population. But 
whether convenience was the only reason for the form of security 
chosen is more questionable. If the loans made to farmers were 
on easier terms than they could otherwise obtain, the system also 
provided valuable assistance to Italian agriculture. The rate of 
interest given on the Baebian table is 2-J- per cent,, which is of 
course inordinately low, but it is possible that this represents a 
half-yearly payment ; a 5 per cent, rate is quoted at Veleia. Even 
this, however, the farmers may have been glad to accept; Pliny's 
thirty thousand on an estate worth half a million indicates a rate 
of 6 per cent, and some Veleian landowners may indeed have 
found it difficult to obtain money on any practicable terms. This 
is, however, a conjecture based on the assumption that depression 
in Italian agriculture was widespread. The evidence of Pliny's 
letters and further enactments of Trajan indeed suggest that 
in certain districts at least this was so, and the absence of a 
proper circulation of capital was perhaps partly to blame 3 * In 

1 Pliny, Pan. 258. They also ranked for the receipt of congiaria. 

2 C also the AETERNITAS issue, and Dessau 6106, cur a . . . qua aeternitati 
Italiae suae prospexit. 

3 Pliny, who was a wealthy man and able to raise fresh capital at need, 
has no hesitation in continuing to purchase real estate; and the fact that he 



that events the provision of what amounted to cheap agricultural 
credits was an additional and important merit of the scheme. A 
rather different view would see here an attempt, concurrently 
with the effort to check depopulation, to restore the cultivation of 
the soil, and the evidence of early imperial grants comes from 
areas where sa/tus predominated. It is plain that some at least of 
the Veleian loans were taken up by rich men who could easily 
have raised capital in the open market, and it is possible that the 
credits were earmarked for land reclamation, and that direct 
encouragement was given to farmers to undertake this service to 
the community. The provisions of the Henchir Mettich inscrip- 
tion show Trajan's keenness on such work in his own African 
estates 1 . The progress of the distribution was gradual, nor was 
the scheme fully developed even locally at first. Either, as seems 
probable, the fiscus was enabled after the Dacian wars to provide 
funds on a more generous scale, or if the plan was made to depend 
on the willingness of the local farmers to accept the loans, the 
demand increased as its advantages were perceived or greater 
pressure was brought to bear. If the whole of Italy was provided 
for, the cost to the government must have been enormous; but 
in some places it was relieved by private generosity and no doubt 
the most necessitous areas were dealt with first. The expense of 
organization appears to have been borne by the local authority; 
at least at Veleia the whole of the cash returns were absorbed in 
the distributions themselves, and from now onwards the title of 
quaestor alimentorum appears among the local officials, A general 
control was, however, maintained by the central government, 
which delegated the duties where possible to the senatorial curators 
of the public roads. 

If, among Trajan's measures for the recovery of Italy, alimenta 
and public works took pride of place, they did not stand alone. 
The obligation enforced on senators to have at least one-third 
of their capital invested in Italian land had the effect of at any 
rate temporarily raising the value of such property, though it is 
doubtful whether this was the Emperor's primary motive for 
the order 2 . Some Italian cities were probably reinforced by settle- 
ments of veterans 3 and it is possible that emigration from Italy 

regards the estate previously mentioned as a desirable property in spite of its 
charge shows that from it at least a return higher than 6 per cent, might be 

1 Bruns 3 Fontes* 114, c J. Carcopino, Rev. t. jtnc* xxm, 1921* 
p. 287. 

2 Pliny, Ep* vi t 19, * Rostovtzeff, op. dt. p. 587, n. 6. 


was forbidden 1 . Finally an attempt was made to check the mis- 
management of their own affairs by Italian cities by the appoint- 
ment of special curators (p. 219), 

In the further assistance from the relief of certain taxes, the 
provincials as well as the Italians shared. The aurum coronarium y 
a provincial contribution on the accession of a new princeps^ was 
remitted ; and with a similar aim certain reliefs seem to have been 
made in the compulsory services and contributions levied from, 
the provincials. Thsjiscus also renounced its claim to the goods 
of those condemned to relegation, and the virtual abolition of 
trials for maiestas deprived it of what had whether by accident or 
design been in the past a steady source of income. The exemptions 
from the succession duty which Nerva had made were further 
extended. Sons were now free whether in patria potestate or 
not, as were fathers, grand-parents and brothers. The minimum 
was raised and certain deductions allowed for in arriving at the 
net figure for assessment; and lastly the provisions were made 
retrospective, thus absolving a large number of recent heirs from 
accumulated debt. It is this, perhaps, which is commemorated 
on the second of the two balustrades in the Forum Romanum 
(see below, p. 788). 

The citizens of Rome itself were the recipients of even greater 
indulgence. Pliny's emphasis in the Panegyric is proof of Trajan's 
concern with the proper working of the corn supply. The addi- 
tional granaries of Nerva and his programme of public works 
had this end in view, and' it was furthered by Trajan's improve- 
ments at OstiaJ Meanwhile the situation was not such as to 
prevent him from relieving a serious famine in Egypt in 99 by 
calling on the accumulated grain reserves in Rome 2 . Special 
concessions were made to the bakers of the city, who were besides 
allowed to form a college (no doubt under close supervision) and 
the transporters may have received some though not all of these 
privileges 3 . The admission of children to the corn distributions 

1 If this is the right inference from S.H.A. Marcus, 11,7, which remains 
very doubtfuL C Rostovtzeff, op. cit. p. 523, n. 34, and 585, n. 2; Ritterling, 
in F.W. s.v. legio, col. 1300. 

2 The duties of T. Flavius Macer, curator frumenti comparandi in annona 
urlisfactus a divo Nerva Traiano Aug., Dessau 1435, Ann. Spig. 1922, no. 19, 
which seem to have been unusual, were perhaps connected with this failure, 
or more probably the disturbances in Egypt in 1 167. 

3 They were not exempted from the tutela. Dig* xxvxi, I, 17, 6. For 
thepzsteres, Aurelius Victor, Caes. xru, 5; Gaius x, 34; Ulpian, Frag. Fat. 
233. The formation of a college was not an unmixed advantage to them, 
since the government could control their operations more efficiently. 


and congiaria has already been mentioned ; the sum total of the 
latter, however, rose under Trajan to an unprecedented height, 
though even this was surpassed by later emperors. Trajan gave 
at least three congiaria^ the first on his return to Rome in 99, the 
second and third in 102 and 107 after his two Dacian wars. The 
normal sum distributed on such occasions was 75 denarii a head 
to those qualified for grant, and the silence of Pliny proves that 
this sum was not exceeded in 99. The total of Trajan's generosity 
reached the figure, according to our only authority 1 , of 650 
denarii ; but the first two distributions are recorded only in the 
senatorial coinage, while the third is accompanied by a special 
imperial issue with the motif of Liberalitas. It is a reasonable 
assumption that this, celebrating the final victory over Dacia and 
its annexation, completes the series and was of extraordinary size: 
the figures ran perhaps 75 in 99 and 102, and 500 in 107. 

It is usual to condemn the congiaria off-hand as an unwarran- 
table indulgence to the pampered populace of Rome; there is, 
however, something to be said on the other side. The prevalence 
of poverty in Rome is an undeniable fact, and it is likely that it 
was amongst the free-born citizens that it was most widespread. 
The revival of land-allotment, which Nerva had attempted, had 
fatal practical objections, the monthly dole was a palliative and 
provided no permanent solution, while the small congiaria pre- 
viously distributed were little better, welcome as no doubt they 
were. A substantial outright grant, however, if wisely expended, 
would enable many to rise above subsistence level, and like the 
atimenta it represented the hope of creating a population eventually 
independent of public charity. But if the figure given be correct, 
the cost would absorb some two-thirds of a year's total state 
revenue 2 , and it must next be considered whether the state of the 
imperial exchequer could justify so large an expenditure at this 

The bulk of expenditure so far recorded follows the Dacian 
wars. It is highly unlikely that any of the great works finished in 
108-113 was begun before 106: without delays such as strikes 
and under the present direction of an eager author they would 
certainly be pushed on quickly. Their completion was signalized 
in nearly every case by extensive games, of which the new frag- 

1 Chronog. of 354 in Mommsen, Chronica mmora % r, p. 146; and see 
below p. 216, n. i. 

2 It may have been considerably more if Strack (op. cit. pp. 838) is right 
in maintaining that there were two lists and that a conglarium was received 
by many who were not qualified for the corn distributions. 


ments of the Fasti Ostlenses have provided some particulars. Dio 
(LXVIII, 15) relates that on Trajan's return to Rome in 107^ public 
entertainments were held over a period of 123 days in which ten 
thousand gladiators took part and eleven thousand animals were 
killed. The celebrations of the next five years were scarcely less 
lavish. We know too little of the expense of the games to estimate 
the total cost with any accuracy: but it is noteworthy that in the 
eight exhibitions given by Augustus during his principate at 
different times, a total of about 1 0,000 gladiators took part. This 
figure was equalled by Trajan in the games of 107 alone, and 
between 106 and 114 over 23,000 performers appear to have 
fought 1 . The Emperor, whose favourite recreation was hunting, 
was notoriously fond of the games and his exhibitions no doubt 
added to his popularity; and besides these displays ludi Herculei 
were instituted at Rome, and founders of provincial games might 
be sure of the Emperor's approval 2 . 

This orgy of spending from 107 onwards, on buildings, games, 
congiaria (and probably a donative) and atimenta suggests very 
powerfully the recent acquisition of much ready money; and there 
is evidence available to confirm the suggestion. In the de 
Magistratibus (n, 28) Johannes Lydus quotes Trajan's doctor, 
T. Statilius Crito 3 , who accompanied him to Dacia, for the state- 
ment that Trajan brought back 5 million pounds weight of gold, 
the double of silver, besides a prodigious quantity of other plunder 
and over 500,000 very bellicose prisoners with their arms. Crito is 
good authority, but these figures are frankly impossible; a simple 
palaeographical error has however been alleged for their multi- 
plication tenfold in transmission 4 . Divided by ten, the results are 
still striking. The fifty thousand warlike prisoners may easily 
have provided for the shows; and in effect Trajan had received 
in addition a cash windfall of the value of 2250 million sesterces 
in gold alone, together with about 430 million in silver (on the 
existing standard) besides the worth of the other articles. This 
total, of at least 2700 million sesterces, is considerably greater 

1 If, however, the reference were to the number of appearances rather 
than of gladiators who fought, this total might be reduced in proportion to 
the rate of gladiatorial survival. The Dacian prisoners were of course a 
windfall for the purpose. See below, p. 216, n. I. 

2 I.G.R.R. i, 446, Strack, op. cit. pp. 134-6. C LG.R.R. i, 146-50, 
Paribeni, op. at. 11, p. 49. For provincial games e.g. LG.R.R. iv, 336 

3 Jahreshefte xxm, 1926, Beibl. col. 263 = ^2^. pig. 1928, no. 94. 

4 J. Carcopino, Points de vue sur rimperialisme romain, pp. 7386. 


than the whole sum of disbursements recorded by Augustus In 
the Res Gestae, and the expenditure of Trajan In the following 
years sinks into proportion 1 . Further, there was reason to expect 
a permanent rise in the income from the Dacian mines, which 
were at once re-opened under the surveillance of imperial officials. 
The acquisition of so great an amount of gold and the prospect 
of a steady fresh supply caused a dislocation in the exchange 
relations of the two precious metals. A papyrus seems to show 
that in Egypt between 107112 the price of gold fell in terms 
of silver by about 4 per cent., and the prefect was asked to adjust 
the rate of exchange between the drachma and the aureus 2 . This 
represents a very large fall, but it gains support from the in- 
crease at about this time of the alloy in the denarius from 10 to 
1 5 per cent 3 . There remain a few items of expenditure of which 
the date is still uncertain. Chief among these are the two legions 
XXX Ulpia and II Traiana, which it is natural to suppose were 
raised for the Dacian wars, though a later date is not impossible 
(p. 231): the double annexation of Dacia and Arabia would need 
fresh garrisons. The new auxiliaries were all raised after the wars; 
as for the equites singulares^ if they were not a corps already 
Instituted by the Flavians, their introduction by Trajan belongs 
probably to the early years 4 . 

The balance of evidence does in fact mark 107 as the turning- 
point in the financial history of the reign. Trajan Inherited from 
Nerva if not an actual deficit at least the prospect of financial 
difficulty once the reserve of Domitian's confiscations had been 

1 These figures, even, divided, are disturbingly large and show a suspicious 
roundness; and though it Is certain that Trajan did receive much gold 
from Dacia, it has been questioned whether Decebalus can have amassed 
so large a hoard, to say nothing of the silver (the Dacian silver mines have 
not been certainly located, CX Davies, Roman Mines in Europe* p. 206). 
The totals of congtaria and of gladiators have also been suspected. But 
although Johannes Lydus, the chronographer of 354, and Dio are each 
severally authorities whose mathematics might be questioned, the cumulative 
effect of their evidence (in Dio's case supported by the Fasti Ostienses) on 
independent points is very great; and their figures have therefore been 
retained, though they must be taken with reserve. 

2 P. Baden 37, F. Heichelheim in Klio xxv, 1932, p, 1245 but cf. 
Mickwitz, op. tit. p. 2; Davles, op. at. p. 205. 

^ 3 The jecall of earlier money recorded by Dio LXVTO, 15 and dated by 

him in this year is possibly connected with this change; but Dio's meaning 

is obscure, and the whole question must await the results of further statistics. 

4 They were, however, only a thousand. Cf, Paribeni, op. tit. i, 

pp. 187-90, 


spent: he inherited also a new programme of Italian reconstruc- 
tion. It was important to maintain confidence until new sources 
of revenue could be tapped, and this he achieved. Certain 
economies were effected. The donative to the troops was halved, 
the congiarium postponed for eighteen months. The renunciation 
of aurum coronarium was perhaps a necessity, since it had presu- 
mably been paid only a little over a year before. The schemes for 
Italian reconstruction went on slowly: but meanwhile an im- 
pression of security was being given; and with 107 an era of 
prosperity dawned for thejiscus. It did not set in Trajan's lifetime. 
His Eastern wars were no doubt costly and perhaps bore heavily 
on the provinces behind the frontier 1 ; Hadrian's decision to 
renounce the territory annexed gave no chance for the conquests 
to pay for themselves : the Jewish revolt had devastated large areas 
even within the empire: yet it is on the whole to a prosperous 
world and a fair financial outlook that Hadrian succeeded. 

The remaining legislation, which is here grouped together 
without special regard to the forms of particular enactments, is 
marked on the whole by humanity and a desire for efficiency and 
dispatch in the discharge of business. In criminal procedure, 
the conduct of trials was accelerated; possessors of bona vacantia 
could save half their illegal gains by confession (part of an attempt 
to check informers) ; anonymous accusations and leading questions 
were forbidden ; defendants condemned in absence had a right to 
a retrial; and a special warning was issued against conviction in 
any case where the least doubt remained. On the other hand 
the existing practice of torture for servile witnesses was extended 
and, in the case of a master murdered in his own house, those 
whom he had freed during his life-time might be tortured along 
with his slaves and testamentary freedmen. Looking further 
afield, Trajan laid down that a parent who had maltreated his son 
must emancipate him and lost all rights over his inheritance, and 
that free-born children exposed at birth and brought up by the 
finder could claim their freedom without repaying the cost of their 

1 The requisitions for feeding troops and for the imperial journeys are 
often cited as having been disastrous (e.g. Rostovteeff op. cit. p. 586, n. 5). 
This, however, is easily over-emphasized. The facts that C. Julius Severus 
fed certain forces billeted for the winter at Ancyra in 114, I.G.&.&, m, 
173, and that a letter was written to Opramoas bidding him prepare for 
Trajan's reception at Rhodiapolis, I.G.JR.-JR.. HI, 739 (iy, ch. 13), are no proof 
of the insolvency of thejiscus or that the cities concerned would otherwise 
have been ruined. Both were men of great wealth whose duty and perhaps 
pleasure it was to help in the prosecution of the war. 


maintenance 1 . He also tightened the regulations of the tutela in 
the interests of minors and others subject to its provisions. The 
use of false weights was made punishable by relegation. A law 
was passed against ambitus, limiting the expenses of candidates 
for office. An advance in the matter of fidei-commissary manu- 
mission was marked by the S. C. Rubrianum which provided that 
if an heir did not obey the wishes of the testator and failed to 
appear when the slave applied to the praetor the slave was 
freed and the heir lost the rights of patronage; certain anomalies 
which arose from the working of this decree were subsequently 
rectified in the reign of Hadrian. However, if a Latin obtained full 
citizenship directly without his patron's consent, he lost his testa- 
mentary rights. In view of the recurrent difficulties about the 
wills of soldiers, which were often technically invalidated by the 
ignorance of the testator, Trajan decided that the wishes of the 
soldiers optimi fidelissimi commilitones where they could be 
ascertained, must be paramount and flaws in drafting overlooked. 
By another answer, however, he laid down that public holidays 
were no concern of the army. A further significant reply dealt 
with the practice of mutilating children to prevent them from 
being called up for levies; this no doubt belongs to one of the war 
periods. Lastly the well-known decision in the case of the 
Christians (p. 255 sq^} reflects a genuine endeavour to strike a 
compromise between discipline and humanitarianism. 


The measures described above, mostly gathered from scattered 
references to Trajan in the Digest, must not be taken to include 
more than a small part of his legislation ; they do assist, however, to 
fill in the picture of the man himself, which emerges much more 
fully from the Bithynian correspondence of Pliny 2 . The letters show 
a flexible disciplinarian; the replies are brief but pointed, and the 
reasons for each decision are fully explained. They prove in fact 
that Trajan was no mere warrior, but a man of serious purpose 
and very great administrative ability; and with a survey of his 
administrative changes this sketch of the internal history of his 
reign must conclude. 

The presence of Pliny in Bithynia at all was due to the state 
of the province which was disclosed by investigations into the 

1 Pliny, Ef. x, 65-6 (71-2). The rule can hardly have been applied to 
Bithynia alone ; though several replies in this correspondence show that Trajan 
was an opportunist in these matters, and its effectiveness has been doubted. 

2 E.g.Ep. 1 14 (i 15) *q. 


case of Varenus Rufus (p. 204). Trajan took It over temporarily 
from the Senate with their consent and Pliny was sent out 3 
probably In 1 1 1, as a legatus pro praetore directly responsible to 
the Emperor, The choice was a wise one. The finances of some 
of the cities were compromised, and Pliny had considerable 
financial experience. His personal uprightness was beyond ques- 
tion, and his legal training and love of detail, coupled with his 
philhellenism ? made him ideally suitable for dealing with the many 
petty but complicated problems. His inexperience of provincial 
government was not necessarily a disadvantage: Trajan wanted 
a dependent and informative governor, and in Pliny he certainly 
got his man. The provision was continued, and after Pliny's death 
his old friend and colleague Cornutus Tertullus took his place, 
and held the position probably until the end of Trajan's reign. 

A leading trouble in Bithynla had been the misgovernment of 
the cities, though it does not appear that there was a general 
financial crisis, and fresh public works were being freely inaugu- 
rated in the province with Pliny's approval. In their mismanage- 
ment, however, the Bithynian cities did not stand alone. Even 
earlier than his appointment a senatorial friend of his, by name 
Maximus, had been sent to Achaea * ad ordinandum statum liber- 
arum civitatiumV The emperors could always, of course, interfere 
in the affairs of a free city and even revoke its freedom by unilateral 
act, but an appointment such as that of Maximus was something 
of a novelty and rather shocking to Pliny's susceptibilities. He 
was given wider powers than those of merely overseeing the city 
finances, but he stands alone in his period: similar functions were 
exercised by the later officers known as correctores. The better 
known curatores reipublicae or civitatis also first come into promi- 
nence under Trajan, and pending further evidence he must be 
given responsibility for the institution 2 . The majority of con- 
temporary instances belong to Italy, in whose welfare he had a 
particular interest 3 ; in the provinces the governors were no doubt 
given instructions to take their own steps, and for Bithynia we 
can see the results, but Trajan's appointments occur at least in 
Gaul and the system spread rapidly throughout the empire, 

1 Pliny, Ep. vm, 24, possibly Sex. Quinctilius Valerius Maximus (Dessau 
1018). See further, p. 220. 

2 A curator colontarum et municipiorum of the late 8o's (Dessau 1017) 
may represent a similar commission and a logistes at Smyrna under Nerva 
(Philostratus, Vitae Soph. i 9 19) a particular duty; but both examples can 
be explained otherwise. Cf. Ritterling, Fasti d. Rom. Deut$chland y pp. 19, 87, 

. 3 The fullest particulars are furnished by Dessau 59 1 8 a of A. jx 113 from 
Caere in Etruria. 


though In imperial provinces it was rare. The purpose of the 
institution was to prevent cities getting into debt through over- 
building or municipal corruption, and the degree of interference 
exercised at first was probably small 1 . If it were successful the 
gain to the Empire would be great, though only indirectly: and 
the dangerous uses to which the system was later put could not 
have been foreseen. It marked, however, a further step on the 
road to paternalism, the implications of which Trajan, whose 
letters show him solicitous for urban independence, probably did 
not clearly understand. 

Among further innovations, the duties of C. Julius Proculus 
as leg. Aug. p.p. region, Transpadanae are obscure but the probable 
date of his appointment suggests a connection with the Dacian 
War; and he seems to have found no successor 2 . From the title 
held by C. Avidius Nigrinus in Achaea the province seems to 
have been removed, like Bithynia, from senatorial to imperial 
control, perhaps as a result of the experiment with Maximus 3 * 
About 114 the procurator of Thrace was replaced by a senator of 
praetorian rank, the jurist P. Juventius Celsus, and the change 
persisted 4 * An obvious explanation lies in the outbreak of the 
Parthian War, but no doubt the progress in civilization of Thrace, 
especially fostered by Trajan (p. 236), also warranted a rise in its 
provincial status. The annexation of Armenia caused the division 
of the Galatian-Cappadocian complex: henceforward Cappadocia 
and Armenia Minor were detached and formed a separate unit 
with Armenia Major 5 . 

The tendency already manifest under the Flavians for knights 
to replace freedmen in control positions in the civil service reached 
a further stage under Trajan. In his reign appears the first 
equestrian a rationibus y in the person of L.Vibius Lentulus, who 
held the office before 1 14; this man also appears to be the earliest 
known equestrian procurator monetae and procurator a kricam^ the 
first of which posts he must have held in the nineties 6 . Another 
new equestrian office was the procurator aquarum ; early in the 
reign the post was still held by freedmen. The process of trans- 
ference from tax farming to direct collection of the vectigalia was 

1 C Pliny, Ep. x, no (in) sqq. for 'presents' on a large scale in 
. Bithynia. Gifts to individuals were forbidden by Trajan. 

2 Dessau 1040. He was consul in 109 and quaestor probably in 96. 

3 Ditt. 3 827, cf. Pros. Imp. Rom* i, p. 286. 

4 For Celsus cf. Pros. Imp. Rom}* n, p. 255; he was succeeded by A. 
Platorius Nepos (Dessau 1052). 6 Dessau 1041, 1338 and c p. 243. 

6 Jnn, epig. 1 9 r 3, no. 1 43 5 1 924, no. 8 1 5 cf. R, EL Lacey, The Equestrian 
Officials of Trajan and Hadrian, pp. 4, 50. 


further developed and perhaps completed: but In their essentials 
these reforms belong to Flavian initiative 1 . 

In the real business of government, senatorial debates had little 
share; Trajan was master, but the most absolute autocrat needs 
good subordinates^ and inscriptions tell us much about the 
personnel of Trajan's administration. As he worked hard himself, 
so he expected his intimate friends to do and numerous careers 
of the time, as of Cornutus Tertullus, Minicius Natalis, Pompeius 
Falco or Numisius Sabinus 2 , show almost continuous employment 
in the imperial service. Nor were Orientals excluded from high 
positions; C. Antius A. Julius Quadratus of Pergamum was 
legate of Syria from about ioi 3 Claudianus of Xanthus, the first 
senator from Lycia, commanded leg. II Traiana probably in the 
East, while C. Julius Berenicianus Alexander, the descendant of 
a 'King Alexander' admitted to the Senate by Vespasian, was 
perhaps a legionary legate in the Parthian campaign 3 ; C. Julius 
Quadratus Bassus, honoured in Pergamum, served on Trajan's 
staff in both the Dacian and Parthian Wars, and rose to be one of 
the most distinguished men in the State 4 . It is possible, too, that 
both Ti. Claudius Livianus, praefectus praetorio for the greater 
part of the reign and throughout both Dacian and Parthian wars, 
and C. Claudius Severus, governor of Arabia from 1 1 1 1 15, were 
of Asiatic Greek descent 5 . 

Above this circle of hard-working administrators stood the 
particular intimates of the Princeps. First of these was L, Licinius 
Sura, thrice consul, a fellow Spaniard and contemporary, who had 
stood by Trajan in Germany and throughout the Dacian wars 
(see below). His great riches, and the Emperor's confidence, 
earned him enemies, whom his patronage of Hadrian did nothing 
to appease; but their attempt to estrange Trajan from, him was 
a failure. His death about no was an evil day for Rome ; he 
possessed great influence and he alone could have dissuaded the 
Emperor from the Parthian campaign ; had he lived he would have 
seen the adoption of Hadrian placed beyond all doubt. Next to, 

1 Dessau 7 1935 and Ann. eptg. 1 924, no. 80, show control officials under 
Trajan. a Dessau 1024, 1029, 1036, 1038, 

3 Inl'M. Pompeius Macrinus Theophanes, Leg, leg* VI Viet, about 
967, Groag sees the first Greek legionary commander on the Rhine 
(ap. Ritterling, op. cit. p. 1 25) . The family, however, though of Greek origin, 
had been settled in Rome for nearly a century. 

4 No identification of this man yet proposed is free from objections; cf 
W. Weber, EerL Abh. 1932, 5, pp. 57955 R. Herzog, BerL S.B. 1933, 
10, pp. 408-415; A. von Premerstein, Bay. S.B. 1934, Heft 3. 

5 Cf. C. S. Walton in J.R.S. xix, 1929, pp. 48, 59. 


Sura and probably among his enemies mentioned by Dio came the 
three consulars A. Cornelius Palma, L. Julius Ursus Servianus 
and L. Publilius Celsus, who were as jealous of his influence with 
Trajan, as they certainly were of the rise of Hadrian. All three 
had given the Emperor distinguished service and were rewarded 
with second consulships, and two at least with triumphal statues 
in his Forum, It is not indeed fanciful to see in Trajan's un- 
willingness to proceed to a formal adoption of Hadrian a reluctance 
to offend this powerful group. There were thus divided parties 
round the throne; and the succession of Hadrian brought matters 
to a head. Servianus certainly survived though he was put to 
death by Hadrian in 136, in his ninetieth year and was honoured 
with a third consulship, the highest honour a private citizen could 
obtain under the empire; but Palma and Celsus were executed in 
1 1 8 and their fate was shared by Avidius Nigrinus and Lusius 
Quietus, who had no doubt belonged to their faction (p. 303). 

The career of the Moor Quietus illustrates Trajan's readiness to 
favour a competent man whatever his origins: but it is probable 
that his impetuousness was a dangerous influence in the Emperor's 
later years when his hold of himself was less steady. The political 
sympathies of Q. Sosius Senecio are less well known : he was a 
patron of literature and the friend of Pliny and Plutarch; his 
father-in-law was Julius Frontinus, and his son-in-law Pompeius 
Falco, after a distinguished career under Trajan, was further 
promoted by Hadrian. Senecio then probably belonged to the 
party of Sura and Hadrian, which one may characterize as pacific 
and perhaps opposed to the Parthian wars, in opposition to the 
aggressive policy urged by the faction of Palma and Quietus- Still 
less certain is the position of L. Neratius Priscus whom Trajan 
was even said to have destined as his successor: he was, however, 

grimarily a lawyer and with Juventius Celsus a leader of the 
roculian school; and he was among the judicial counsellors of 
both Trajan and Hadrian. It is possible that his influence lay 
in this direction rather than that of politics. It is difficult to 
estimate the share of these different men in shaping the policy 
of Trajan's principate; and in view of his own strong character 
we are justified in calling it the Emperor's own. One thing is 
certain the influence of Sura, and it is perhaps to his death that 
we should attribute the deterioration of the last years. 




verdict of historians may be that in his work as an 
][ administrator lay Trajan's greatest service to the Roman 
State; but it is as a soldier that his reputation has endured* The 
later writers of antiquity, though as members of the Empire they 
gloried in his conquests, doubted of their wisdom and succeeding 
years have reinforced their doubt. But to Tacitus and his con- 
temporaries the great days of the past seemed to have returned. 
The boundaries of the empire, which since Augustus had been 
'defensum magis quam nobiliter ampliatum/ were being carried 
forward on every side; and under her ardent and inspiring leader 
Rome was recovering her confidence not only in internal peace 
but also in her imperial destiny. In Africa, though the Aures 
massif was not yet wholly secured, its encirclement in Trajan's 
early years marked the arrival of Rome at the limit of settled 
habitation on the desert edge (p. 148), and the founding of 
Thamugadi and Lambaesis proclaimed the final achievement of 
Roman aims in Numidia. The Dacian problem ceased to exist 
and the further absorption of the Rumanian plains, now enclosed 
by the advanced posts of the Dacian province and of Scythia Minor, 
and the attainment of a firm line on the Sereth against westward 
migrations must have seemed only a matter of time. In 106, 
despite the concurrence of the second Dacian War, the annexation 
of Arabia was carried through with little fuss; and when in 116 
the victorious Emperor reached the Persian Gulf and kept informing 
the Senate of his subjection of peoples of whose very existence 
they were ignorant, it is no marvel that their sense of proportion 
was overwhelmed. It is the task of this chapter to strike a balance 
between Trajan's martial exploits and to seek the causes which 
led him on a career of conquest which in the end was to prove a 
damnosa hereditas for the empire he sought to strengthen. 

It was the Danube frontier that demanded first attention. The 
settlement of Domitian (p. 185 sg.\ while in the circumstances it 
was perhaps the wisest temporary expedient, could hardly be a per- 
manent solution, nor is there evidence that its author ever intended 


it for such, A policy of subsidy can only be so effectively used, 
as It has been In corners of the British Empire, where the recipients 
are numerically too weak or traditionally too disunited ever to 
constitute a serious menace to the neighbouring provinces. Else- 
where It can at best be a temporary measure, to tide over a period 
of general stress or to await better local conditions for a final 
settlement. But the Dacians were a united race, conscious of 
nationhood and thoroughly organized under a prince of genius. 
Like Mithridates, with whose career his own can bear comparison, 
Decebalus was fired by an unquenchable hate for Rome and 
dreamed like him of a wider union of Rome's enemies than was 
bounded by his mountain circle; and during the Trajanlc wars 
he even made overtures to the Parthian king for a concerted plan 
against the common danger 1 . The death of Decebalus might have 
removed the Immediate threat to the Roman peace ; but a century 
and more of experience could tell that Dacia was a permanently 
dangerous neighbour, a focus for the union of all the middle and 
lower Danublan peoples, &gens nusquam fida^ and an enemy to be 
reckoned with whenever, as in 69, necessity elsewhere weakened 
the garrisons and offered an opportunity. Conversely, the tenure 
by Rome of the Dacian mountain salient, a comparatively simple 
task, as the event showed, once the difficult conquest had been 
achieved, would hold the tribesmen apart and give security for 
the safe development of the Thracian and Moesian hinterland. 

Some such answer, then, as Trajan's was dictated by the strategic 
needs of the Empire and would probably In any case have soon 
followed the completion of the German limes ; and in the state 
of the evidence it is rash to pronounce upon the causes which 
fixed the declaration of war in 10 1 , It may be Trajan judged that 
time could only make success more difficult, or that some lost 
event precipitated the conflict 2 ; but to attack Decebalus at the 
height of his prestige, with the frontier re-organization scarcely 
complete and with troops many of whom had shared the bitter 
outcome of the previous war, was to try a dangerous hazard how 
dangerous the history of the first campaigns amply shows: and 
in his early decision to invade, Trajan's own military ambitions 
and self-confidence were probably the dominant factor. 

The day of his accession found him on the Rhine, where he 
had still work to do in composing the repercussions along the 
upper German frontier of the Suebic War of 97, which may even 

1 Pliny, Ep. x, 74 (16). 

2 Such as the conjectural encroachment of Decebalus on his neighbours, 
probable enough in itself, but an insecure deduction from Dio LXVIII, 9, 5, 


Itself have lingered into gS 1 . But in fact the immediate goal of 
Rome in this area had been achieved already by the careful 
planning of Domitian and his staff, and for the remaining details 
the presence of the Emperor and of anything more than a skeleton 
force was no longer necessary. Trajan was therefore soon free to 
turn his attention farther east, and he spent the winter of 989 
on the Danube frontier. The fruits of his visit appear in the con- 
struction of at least one new road (and probably more) in the 
sector from which the advance of A.D. 101 proceeded, and it need 
not be in doubt that he had already made up his mind for war, even 
if he had not now designed the actual annexation of the Dacian 
kingdom ; and after a short period in Rome which coincided with 
the delays of preparation rather than the necessity for his presence 
in the capital, he left Italy in March, 101, to open his campaign 2 . 
The monographs which were written to describe the Dacian 
wars have all perished, with the exception of one sentence of 
Trajan's own Dacian Commentaries , and since the topographical 
indications in Dio are of the slightest, the principal guide to the 
course of the war is the Column of Trajan itself (p. 207) with its 
spiral band of reliefs. The historical value of these sculptures has 
been severely challenged, and it is true that without an adequate 
written narrative it is likely to remain impossible to unlock their 
secret to a demonstration; but that they do embody a chrono- 
logical record which we should easily recognixe if, like the public 
for whom they were designed, we had other knowledge of the 
events portrayed, is unquestionable, and an historian is entitled 
to make the best use he may of their evidence. At the same time 
the dangers of interpretation may be seen from the fact that were 
it not for the positive identification of the first route depicted by 
Trajan's own statement in his Commentaries^ discussion of the 
later campaigns would be almost useless, since this begins from 
the knowledge that a different road was employed and the field 
can be narrowed to an extent which makes further investiga- 
tion reasonably worth while. It must, moreover, be admitted that 
the details of the reliefs cannot always be closely pressed ; patient 
examination by a series of scholars building upon the original 
researches of Cichorius 3 has established certain principles and 
symbols evolved by the designer to clarify his record, but the 
artist was never in bond to the historian, and it is, for example, 

1 Jinn. epig. 1 923, no. 28 > a centurion decorated by Trajan alone for services 
bello Germanico* Eutropius and Orosius refer obscurely to the work of re- 
organization (p. 182). 2 March 25, Dessau 5035, 

3 C. Cichorius, Die Reliefs der Traiansaule, i, 18965 u 1900. 
CJUH. xr ijf 


unprofitable to attempt to identify upon the Column particular 
minor incidents recorded by Dio or to deduce the composition 
of the armed forces from the units represented in the stone. 

The general plan of the first campaign follows from Trajan's 
own comment 6 Inde Berzobim, deinde Aizi processimusV These 
two places lay on the most westerly of the roads into Dacia, which 
ran from Lederata on the Danube, near Viminacium, round the 
western outliers of the mountains to Tibiscum, whence a short 
march led to Tapae and the so-called Iron Gate pass into Dacia 
proper 2 . This route had already been used by Tettius Julianus in 
the uncompleted campaign of 889 (p, 172), and it presented 
obvious advantages. The base at Viminacium made an accessible 
centre for reinforcements and supplies, and the line of communica- 
tions of the advancing army was short 3 and comparatively secure, 
since the Sarmatian lazyges on its left flank were at this time 
friendly to Rome. This line, then, Trajan himself followed ; but 
whether he was assisted by a parallel column using the second of 
the later Roman roads, which led from Tsierna, lower down the 
river, over a pass known as the Teregova Keys, to join the first 
at Tibiscum, is less certain. For this hypothesis the double 
bridging of the Danube shown by the sculptor was originally 
responsible 4 , but its exponents disagreed over the base of the 
eastern force and the point of junction of the two expeditions; and 
more recent criticism has dismissed the theory of a double advance 
as a figment 5 . Nevertheless, even though the positive identifica- 
tions on the Column break down, the use of the Teregova route 
in the first campaign remains a likely possibility. The two bridges 
are a natural means for the sculptor to indicate a simultaneous 
crossing of separate forces, and his failure to make their subse- 
quent advance as clear as he does in the campaign of 106 accords 
with the recognized fact 6 that only as he progressed did he 
discover the full potentialities of his medium. The use of separate 
columns in penetrating difficult country and splitting the opposi- 
tion at key points was obvious strategy, well known at the time; 
Dio's narrative of the following year shows certainly two and 
possibly three Roman units at work, and a similar division in 

1 Priscian, Inst. Gram, vi, 13 (Peter, Hist. rom. reL n, p. 117)* 

2 For the Dacian wars see Map 12 facing p. 554, 

3 The Peutinger Table gives the road distance from Lederata to Tibiscum 
as about 7580 miles. 

4 Cichorius, op. dt. Scenes iv and v; Volume of Plates v, 36. 

5 Imprimis y Sir H. Stuart Jones in B.S.R. v, 1910, pp. 439 sqq* 


Stuart Jone$, op. cif. p. 437. 


1 06 is plain from the Column, while the fact, for what it is worth, 
that Trajan employed a double advance along the Tigris and 
Euphrates in 1 1 5 is some indication that it was a method of which 
he approved. Lastly, the cliff road constructed in 100 along the 
Danube bank facing Tsierna 1 forcibly suggests a special need at 
this point, since the previous road here left the river and went 
inland to rejoin it at Egeta; and this new section, a difficult 
engineering feat, may well have been designed to serve an attack 
by the Teregova route. 

Before the Roman advance, whether double or single, the 
Dacian forces withdrew, adhering to the tactics which had proved 
successful against Fuscus in 86 (p. 170^.) and hoping to draw out 
the opposing line of communications and cut the enemy off in 
the mountains of Transylvania. The sculptures show abandoned 
fortresses, crops destroyed and hills empty save for a few spies. 
Despite the lack of opposition, however, Trajan moved forward 
cautiously, consolidating his advance at each point, and building 
roads, bridges, and forts as he went. Reaching Tibiscum without 
serious fighting, he paused before the attack on the main Dacian 
defences at the entrance to the Iron Gate pass. Here, at Tapae, the 
first pitched battle of the war took place. The sculptor represents 
it as a Roman victory 2 ; but it seems to have failed in its objective. 
The defences were not forced, and as the campaigning season 
was now far spent Trajan contented himself with securing the 
Banat and maintaining his advanced position. 

In the winter Decebalus, blockaded on the west, delivered his 
counter attack. As his objective he chose, as he had done before, 
Lower Moesia and summoned his allies or dependents the Sar- 
matian Roxolani from the Moldavian plain to join in the offensive. 
The two forces swam the river and gained at first considerable 
success. The exact locality of the raid is uncertain, since the 
Column shows only that it was considerably lower down the river 
than Drobetae, where Trajan was himself wintering, but the city 
of Nicopolis which he founded some miles south-east of Novae 
has been supposed to commemorate its repulse 3 . It was perhaps 
this eastern raid, and the propaganda value of his success against 
it which, together with the proved strength of the Iron Gate 
defences, determined Trajan upon a fresh line for his main assault 
in 1 02. His route in this year has been plausibly traced along, 
the easternmost of the practical entries into Dacia, up the Aluta 

1 Dessau, 5863. 2 Cichorius, Scene xxiv; Volume of Plates v, 38, a. 
3 An alternative, but less probable, view would connect with it the great 
trophy built in 109 at Adamclisi in the Dobrudja (p. 234). 



(Oltu) valley and through the mountain barrier by the compara- 
tively broad and easy Red Tower pass 1 . Although by this road 
the line of communications was much longer and weaker than in 
the campaign of 101, the advance proceeded without molestation, 
The prestige of the winter victories had paved its way, and it may 
have been the defection of his allies, tired of the war, which 
induced Decebalus to send at least two embassies to ask for peace. 
Trajan rejected the first, but the second, containing as it did some 
of the highest Dacian nobles, the pileati^ was better received, and 
the chief of staff and praetorian prefect, Licinius Sura and 
Claudius Livianus, were sent to discuss terms. But the conditions 
offered by Rome were too severe for Decebalus still himself 
undefeated to accept; and the war went on. 

Meanwhile Trajan continued his march and was enabled to pene- 
trate the Red Tower pass before a Dacian army could be sent to 
block it, and at Cedoniae (Sibiu) he stood inside the Carpathian 
ring. From this point his objective, Sarmizegethusa, lay due west; 
but the easiest access to it involved a descent north-west to 
Apulurn (Alba Julia) followed by a left-handed turn down the 
valley of the Marisus, the principal river of Dacia. There were, 
however, serious objections to following this route, for it exposed 
his left flank to the series of Dacian fortresses on the spurs of the 
Miihlbach mountains, and any disaster in his rear would leave 
him trapped in the Marisus valley and at the mercy of Decebalus, 
This was no doubt the king's hope, and it may even be that he 
had designedly allowed him to pass the Red Tower defile with 
that object; but Trajan was too skilful a general to fall into the 
trap. He accordingly divided his army, and with the main body 
set out directly across the hills to capture the Miihlbach strong- 
holds on his way. At the same time two forces were detached to 
sweep up the valleys and foothills under a certain Maximus and 
Lusius Quietus, a leader of Moorish irregulars whose short- 
comings in peace were compensated by gifts as a cavalry com- 
mander which served Trajan well again in the Parthian War; 
of these forces one no doubt was sent round by the northern route 
to rejoin the Emperor somewhere near the junction of the Marisus 
and the Strell 2 . The key to the success of this strategy lay in 

1 For this year's campaign, c especially G. A. T. Davies, * Topography 
and the Trajan column/ J.R.S* x, 1920, pp, 828. 

2 It is possible that in Maximus we should recognise the commander of 
the western force outside the Iron Gate pass 5 but this man is probably 
M 9 . Laberius Maximus, governor of Lower Moesia at any rate in Joo 
(S.E.G. i, 329) and therefore a likelier partner in the eastern army, the 
western being under Q. Glitius Agricola, governor of Pannonia. 


Trajan's own power to take the Miihlbach fortresses within 
a reasonable time, and this after hard fighting he accomplished. 
When the last and most stubbornly defended of these, the Muncel 
Cetate on high ground above the upper waters of the Varosviz 
river, fell and the Dacian relieving army was defeated 1 , the way 
to Sarmizegethusa lay open and the war was won. Decebalus, 
to save his capital the horrors of a useless siege, capitulated, and 
one of the most striking scenes of the Column illustrates his 
surrender in Trajan's camp, probably at Aquae (Kis-Kalan) on 
the Strell. 

The terms of peace were now for Trajan to dictate; and the 
half-measure he adopted was perhaps the fruit of over-confidence 
in the effects of his recent success. At the same time he recognized 
both the difficulty of keeping in being throughout a Dacian winter 
the large army necessary for a thorough conquest of the country, 
and the personal value of Decebalus himself, who, if he should 
remain, as he no doubt professed, a loyal ally of Rome, might 
yet prove a most useful instrument of Roman policy. He was 
accordingly spared and reinstated with the position of a client- 
king, but he was obliged to accept a Roman garrison at Sarmize- 
gethusa and probably in some of the Miihlbach fortresses, and 
to surrender Roman deserters and all his artillery and engineers 
and pull down his fortifications. Moreover, if this be the correct 
interpretation of a vexed phrase in Dio 2 , the Romans retained 
the Banat conquests of 101 which were incorporated in Upper 
Moesia. A Dacian embassy was sent to Rome to secure the formal 
ratification of peace by the Senate 3 and in the winter of 102 Trajan 
himself left Sarmizegethusa to celebrate his triumph and assume 
the cognomen of 'Dacicus' 4 . The governors of Pannoniaand Lower 
Moesia, Q. Glitius Atilius Agricola and M*, Laberius Maximus, 
were rewarded with a second consulship in 103 (which Licinius 
Sura had already held in the previous year), while lesser com- 
manders received corresponding recognition 5 . 

1 Cichorius, Scenes JLXXI in; Volume of Plates v, 38, b\ in it were found 
relics of the disaster of Fuscus (p. 170) who had perhaps fallen into the trap 
set for Trajan. 2 Dio, LXVIII, 9, 5. 

3 For the significance of this in the coin-issue, cf. Strack, op. cit. p. 108. 

4 Two imperatorial salutations, III and IV, belong to this war, probably 
both to the second half of 102. The title * Dacicus* first occurs officially on 
coins which seem to have been specially struck in the last weeks of 102 
(Strack, op. cit. p. 24). 

5 Notably Q. Roscius Coelius Pompeius Falco and L. Minicius Natalis 
(Dessau 1035, 1029), legates respectively of V Macedonica and VII 


The peace of 102 was not destined to last for long. Trajan 
had misjudged his man, and one by one the clauses of the treaty 
were broken. Finally, when Decebalus felt himself strong enough 
to annex some territory of Rome's allies the lazyges, war was 
declared, and in June 105 Trajan set out again for the front. His 
route to the Danube on this occasion is carved in considerable 
detail 1 , but the most divergent views have been held as to its 
identification. It is likely that he crossed the Adriatic from Ancona 
to lader (Zara) and there are strong reasons for taking him thence 
south to Lissus and so across Albania to Naissus and Ratiaria, 
but the case is still short of proof 2 . Meanwhile Decebalus had not 
been idle. He determined to strike before reinforcements arrived, 
and when Trajan reached the river he found a serious situation. 
The camps in Dacia proper had already fallen, and among the 
prisoners was a man of consular rank, perhaps the Longinus whose 
capture and suicide Dio narrates 3 . Other Roman posts, either 
in Wallachia or even south of the Danube, were under siege 
and their relief occupied the campaigning season of 105, so that 
Trajan could not set out to reconquer the interior until 106. There 
could now be no doubt of his intentions ; indeed the rupture of 
peace within three years of its conclusion left no alternative to the 
thorough subjugation of the country. Accordingly a strong force 
was collected, and crossing himself by the great Danube bridge 
which Apollodorus had built at Drobetae during the interval of 
peace, Trajan began his last campaign. Decebalus' precarious 
allies melted away, and after abortive attempts to conciliate Trajan 
or to poison him, he found himself faced by ruin. Attacked on 
two sides, possibly through the Iron Gate and Red Tower passes, 
he showed a desperate opposition, and much hard fighting was 
necessary before Sarmizegethusa fell to the united armies in the 
late summer of the year. But this did not, as in 102, finish the 
campaign. No such terms were now acceptable. Decebalus escaped 
to the north and a Roman column pressed after him, up the 
Marisus valley into a country yet unpenetrated. The northern 
chiefs, not ignorant of their certain fate, rallied to the king and 
gave way stubbornly, even gaining some successes. But the end 

1 Cichorius, Scenes LXXIX xci; Volume of Plates v, 40. 

2 This is the reconstruction of Stuart Jones, op. cit. pp. 448458. It 
may be fairly said that the variants of the so-called Long Sea Route, involving 
an approach to the Danube by way of the Aegean, are less convincing than 
any of the proposed routes via the Adriatic and Dalmatia. 

3 Fronto, de hello Parth. p. 217 NJ Dio LXVIII, 12, where Longinus is 


was now inevitable. Decebalus was surrounded and committed 
suicide, preceded or followed by many of his subordinates. Others 
of them submitted to Trajan, and a sharp guerrilla campaign ended 
the war. 

The difficulty of the Dacian wars may be in part appreciated 
from a survey of the troops involved, though any exact numerical 
estimate is as yet impossible. Inscriptions prove the participation 
of four out of the five existing Moesian legions, and that of the 
fifth, II Adiutrix, may be accepted as certain, though possibly 
it had already departed to Pannonia by 105 and took no part in 
the second war. After the comparative failure of the campaign 
in 1 01 (which evoked no imperatorial salutation) further reinforce- 
ments were summoned. I Minervia came from Bonn to the front 
and remained until after 106, while the arrival in Pannonia about 
the same time of another German legion, XI Claudia from Vin- 
donissa, means no doubt that one of the existing garrisons had 
departed for the scene of war. Of these XIII Gemina, the future 
Dacian legion, certainly shared in some of the campaigns, and 
that the other three sent at least detachments is probable. Finally, 
of the two new legions, the service of XXX Ulpia is strongly 
suggested by its early -cognomen Victrix and its subsequent 
movements, while the early history of II Traiana remains an open 
question. At any rate, from 101 there were thirteen legions at 
least along the Danube frontier, and the fact that none seem to 
have been moved away before 107 may perhaps argue Trajan's 
own doubts of the vitality of the peace of IO2 1 . Besides the legions 
the Column, backed by inscriptions, records the activity of many 
auxiliary units, including irregulars, as well as of the Praetorian 
Guard and other household troops. 

Trajan was now free to make a final settlement and the extreme 
measures which he took are a testimony to the respect with which 
four seasons' hard campaigning against the Dacians had inspired 
him. The fine motto -parcere subiectts was indeed, as Augustus 
had long ago declared, not always applicable; and of Dacia Trajari 
found himself virtually compelled to echo Domitian's famous 
summary of a pettier occasion (p. I46) 2 : in the Dacian uplands, 
a solitude was a prerequisite of peace. The scope of his exter- 

1 The location of three legions, I Minervia, IV Flavia and XIII Gemina, 
in the years 1025 is as doubtful as it is important. It is hard to believe with 
Ritterling (P*W. s.<u.) that they were all on garrison duty in the newly 
conquered part of Dacia. If this were so the interpretation of the course of 
the second war would wear a rather different colour. 

2 Dio LXVJT, 4, 6. 


initiation has, however, been sometimes exaggerated. Many 
Dacians remained, probably those who had early come to terms, 
and from among them were drawn the Dacian auxiliaries who 
now begin to appear in history. Others > whose exodus forms the 
dramatic conclusion to the sculptured record, trekked northwards 
towards Ruthenia and the upper waters of the Theiss; many lay 
dead; and fifty thousand stalwart prisoners marched south in 
chains to end their lives as gladiators and grace a Roman holiday 
(p. 215). A polyglot folk replaced the free. Settlers were im- 
ported from all over the empire and, bringing with them their 
customs and their cults, made of Dacia the most cosmopolitan 
of all the Danube provinces. Some came for a special purpose, 
We have no evidence that the Dacian gold mines were other than 
a subsidiary motive for the war, but they were at once re-opened 
with a staff of Dalmatian miners under the supervision of a 
-procurator aurariarum 1 and played henceforward an important 
part in the imperial finances (p. 216). Of the others, the in- 
scriptions indicate a preponderance of Orientals, though settlers 
of western origin are also found. The divine Zalmoxis yielded 
place to smaller gods, Malagbel, Bellahamon and a motley 
Olympus 2 . The government took a vigorous hand in the develop- 
ment of the country. Military needs had caused its annexation, but 
it was not merely to remain a camp. Besides the gold mines, salt 
and iron were also worked, surveyors were active and pasture lands 
let out on lease. Roads were opened up, and the principal interior 
highway from Sarmizegethusa through Apulum to Porolissum 
in the far north was complete in the Potaissa-Napoca section as 
early as io8 3 . Sarmizegethusa remained the capital, the centre 
of the civil government and of the Imperial worship, and was 
refounded by Trajan as the colonia Dacica 4 ; among its original 
colonists were a number of veterans from Danube legions. Tsierna 
also became a colony, and numerous smaller settlements received 
an urban organization of the Roman type whence they developed 
into colonies or municipia. 

The new province did not embrace all the land over which the 

1 E.g. Dessau 1593. 

2 Statistics are collected by L. W, Jones, The Cults of Dacia, Univ. Calif. 
Public, in Class. Phil, ix, 1929, no. 8, p. 245. 

3 C.I.L. m, 1627. The builders, coh. I Flavta Ulpia Hispanorum c.R. 
named as part of the Dacian garrison in 1 10 (Dessau 2004) were previously 
an upper Moesian unit who, from the addition to their title, had distinguished 
themselves in the war. 

4 CJ.L. m, 1443. Its full later title was colonia Ulpia Traiana Augusta 
Dacica Sarmizeget(h)usa metropolis. 


Romans now claimed the sovereignty. On the west, portions of 
the Banat lying beyond the Tsierna-Teregova road were assigned 
to Upper Moesia, the duty of whose legions it remained to protect 
them against possible incursions of the neighbouring lazyges. 
Some, indeed^ of the territory here incorporated, whose seizure 
by Decebalus had been the spark to the Second Dacian War, had 
previously belonged to them and its retention by Rome necessi- 
tated a campaign which was entrusted to P. Aelius Hadrianus, 
now governor of the newly formed province of Pannonia Inferior 1 . 
To eastward, the Aluta formed the nominal boundary and a line 
of forts was soon erected along its western bank. Besides guarding 
the actual frontier their garrisons were available to help the police 
of Little Wallachia, never thoroughly pacified 2 . Beyond the 
river, though with the spread of civil settlement across its banks 
the frontier was later pushed forward some thirty miles, the plains 
of Wallachia and Moldavia, over which the Romans claimed a 
suzerainty they hardly exercised in practice, belonged to the 
sphere of Lower Moesia, tiles of whose legions have been found 
as far north as the southern outliers of the Transylvanian Alps 3 . 
In the far north, the line of the original boundary is harder to 
define; but it is probable that it was drawn roughly along the 
watersheds of the Bihar group in the west and the southern 
Carpathians in the east, including the upper waters of the river 
Szamos (Some) at least as far as Porolissum, which may have been 
an auxiliary station from the first. The swift reduction of the 
Dacian garrison implies that no great difficulty was found here 
in establishing the determined frontier, and the process was 
perhaps complete in its essentials by the end of Trajan's principate. 
Farther east, where the Carpathian foothills approach the final 
bend of the Danube at Galati, only a short distance of a hundred 
miles separated the last Dacian fort at Brecu 4 from the legionary 
camp at Troesmis founded about 107. A bridge was soon thrown 
across this gap. The fort at Barboi north of the Danube was filled 
at latest in H3 5 by the lower Moesian cohort // Mattiacorum: 
from here a Roman road ran northwards up the Sereth valley to 

* S.HLA. Hadr. 3, 9. 

2 Cf. Dessau 9179, recording repairs in A.IX 201 to the fort at Bumbesti, 
In the centre of this district. 

3 E.g. C.LL. HI, 12530 from Drajna de sus, north of Ploesti. 

* Garrisoned by the cohorts / Htspanorum and / ~Bracaraugu$tanorum t 
both originally from Lower Moesia (c E. Panaitescu, Bull. Jcad. Roum. 
xv, 1 929, pp. 73^.)- 

5 C.I.L. m, 777. 


Poiana, where traces of a camp have been found 1 , and thence west 
to enter Dacia at Bre^cu. This road passed through the province 
to Apulum and joined the main highway down the Marisus valley 
to the western frontier, whence a continuation still imperfectly 
traced seems to have crossed the intervening plain to reach the 
Danube again somewhere south of Aquincum, perhaps at 
Intercisa 2 . 

Meanwhile south of the river the removal of the barbarian 
menace of the last twenty years brought a return of prosperity 
to the Dobrudja. For some time after the reverses of 85 and 86 
the great earth wall running from Tomi to a point north of Raova 
on the Danube seems to have been the effective boundary of Roman 
control (p. 170). Gradually the situation improved and the 
heavily defended line was abandoned, but there is no certain 
trace of Roman occupation beyond it before the turn of the 
century. The auxiliary camp at Carsium (Harsova) was built after 
the First Dacian War 3 , and the earliest signs of organized civil 
settlement at places such as Capidava and Ulmetum seem to 
belong to this period, while farther north at Histria on the coast 
the proceedings before the governor about the same date suggest 
a recent return of the Roman authority. The process of recovery 
may have been gradual since the nineties, but its conclusion is 
doubly marked. After the Dacian wars, if not in the interval 
between them, the legion V Macedonica took up its permanent 
post at Troesmis and secured not only the peace but the prosperity 
of the Dobrudja, By the middle of the century the country had 
become widely sown with small farming communities, chiefly 
of legionary and auxiliary veterans, and dependent for their markets 
as much on the camps as on the Greek coastal cities 4 . Secondly, 
in 109 the great monument at Adamclisi was dedicated to Mars 
Ultor 5 , and in the valley beneath its shadow arose the small 
foundation of Tropaeum Traiani, A core of solid concrete, a 
hundred feet high and more than as much in diameter, surmounted 
by a trophy and ringed with sculptures, it represents a significant 
gesture, a counterpart to the triumphal column in the capital 

1 Probably Trajanic; cf. G. Cantacuzene, Aegyptus, ix, 1928, pp. 63 sqq* 
(esp. 86-96). 

2 C.LL, nr, 8064, i<*>'> *'*<>' Is this perhaps the Trajanic road, designed 
for quick transit between the Rhine and the Euxine and running per feras 
gentes, which is mentioned by Aurelius Victor, Caes. xni, 2? 

3 V. Parvan, Anal. Acad. Romdne, xxxv, 1913, p. 541, n, 4. 

4 Cf. Pirvan, Ausonia x, 1921, p. 198. 

5 See Volume of Plates v, 42; CJ.L. m, 1 2467 5 1 2470 shows Tropaeum 
already municipally organized by 1156. 


Itself. Had any comparable monument of victory been set up 
in Dacia, it is safe to say that at least the carcase would survive 
the years* It was no mere incident of the Trajanic campaigns, 
such as the raid of 1012 or the pressure of 105, that the trophy 
at Adamclisi was built to mark. It proclaimed the triumphant 
end of the Dacian wars, on the spot where more than twenty years 
before the death of Oppius Sabinus had seen their sorry beginning 1 . 
As with Mithridates, so with Decebalus, twenty years were needed 
to break his threat to Rome, With the recovery of Scythia Minor 
and the occupation of Transylvania, the key points in the defence 
of the Lower Danube were held, and henceforward effectively 
garrisoned. There remained the intervening plains, already oc- 
cupied by uncivilized and semi-nomadic tribesmen, difficult at 
all times to control, but now checked and all but encircled by the 
grapple of the new frontier dispositions. To tame and absorb 
them up to the shorter and easier line of the Sereth, and con- 
sequently to make firm provision against the recognized danger 
of westward migration from the Russian steppes, must be a 
gradual process: for the moment a policy of subsidy must keep 
them quiet 2 . That the final plan was never in fact accomplished 
may not detract from Trajan's credit in having dealt effectively 
with the first and major part of the problem. 

For a time, then, a strong garrison on the Lower Danube was 
essential, and besides auxiliaries, who had hitherto been entrusted 
with the defence of the eastern sector, three legions remained 
between the Aluta and the sea, I Italica at Novae, XI Claudia at 
Durostorum and V Macedonica at Troesmis. Higher up the 
river the frontier advance meant a fresh alignment of troops. 
Oescus and Ratiaria ceased to be legionary camps, and received 
the status of colonies, and the two legions of Upper Moesia, 
IV Flavia and VII Claudia, lay at Singidunum and Viminacium. 
In Pannonia, where between the two wars there had perhaps been 
as many as six legions and which had consequently been divided 
into an upper and a lower province like Moesia in 86 (p. 186), 
there were at first probably five 3 . Dacia itself received as its 
permanent garrison only one, XIII Gemina at Apulum, but a 

1 As was long ago suggested by Davies, op. cit. p. 10, n. 2. 

* S.H.A. Hadr. 6 3> 8, cf. p. 355. 

3 The exact dispositions of this force for the next few years are not yet 
determined and depend largely on the date of departure of XV Apollinaris 
from Carnuntumj but it seerns probable, especially in view of the recent 
trouble with the lazyges, that for a time after 108 there were two legions in 
Lower Pannonia. 


larger force was necessary at first and there are traces of a tem- 
porary stay of I Adiutrix in the province at this time. I Minervia 
returned to Bonn, and II Traiana went east, if indeed it had ever 
been a part of the Danube forces. Finally, when XV Apollinaris 
left for Cappadocia and XXX Ulpia for Germany the Pannonian 

frrison was reduced to four legions, three in the upper province, 
Gemma, I Adiutrix and XIV Gemina at Vindobona, Brigetio 
and Carnuntum, and one in the lower, II Adiutrix at Aquincum, 
leaving an establishment of ten legions along the Danube front. 

Behind the border, the new Danube solution had its reper- 
cussions also in the interior, particularly in Thrace, Here the 
process of civil development and urbanization begun under the 
Julio-Claudians was rapidly pushed forward; and the city names 
of Augusta Traiana, Plotinopolis, Traianopolis, Hadrianopolis as 
well as the tribe of others, or the addition of Ulpia to their title, 
show new foundations or rises in municipal standing. A further 
mark of this progress was the elevation of Thrace about 1 14 to 
the rank of a praetorian province (p. 220). In Lower Moesia 
the creation of Marcianopolis and Nicopolis ad Istrum, besides 
Tropaeum Traiani and lesser villages, and in the upper province 
Ulpiana and the title Ulpia Scupi reflect the same picture, while 
in Pannonia the old legionary fortress of Poetovio became a colony 
with the title Ulpia Traiana. Trajan saw clearly that in the Danu- 
bian provinces lay the key to the prosperity of the empire of whose 
frontier they formed the backbone. His military solution secured 
their peace and in his policy of civil development lay the seeds of 
their future strength. In this he judged aright, and had he been 
content with his Danubian laurels he might claim to have done 
Rome service equal with the greatest. Unfortunately a wrong 
inference from his success turned his attention eastward, and his 
fruitless Parthian war upset the stability so hardly won. 


Trajan's success in Dacia had been won at a cost, but the result 
seemed likely to justify his trouble and expense. It brought a 
return of confidence to an empire which at his accession had ap- 
peared uneasily conscious of decadence, and in every province 
fresh dedications testify to the honour in which the Emperor was 
held. It was otherwise with his Parthian war. One such triumph 
was enough for a generation and time was needed for recovery: 
to attempt a second major war within ten years was seriously to 
overtax the imperial resources. Yet it is easy to see the springs of 


such a miscalculation. The seeds of a conflict with the Parthians 
had been sown, whether consciously or not, as far back as the 
Flavian re-organization of the eastern frontier, which brought an 
effective military occupation to the banks of the Euphrates. In 
the north the trunk roads in Asia Minor, and especially behind 
the new legionary fortress of Satala, felt a keen continuance of 
Flavian development under Nerva and in Trajan's early years 
(p. 141). Farther south, facing Mesopotamia, the annexation of 
Commagene in 72 had brought another legion to the river and 
Roman arms had pressed down it as far as Sura by Vespasian's 
death, tightening their control over Palmyra, and building fresh 
roads up to the Euphrates line. One by one the remaining petty 
kingdoms within the provincial area were absorbed, until by 
A.D. 100 only the Nabataean Arabs in the south-east still preserved 
a client independence, and since the lapse to Rome, probably 
about 93, of the domains of Agrippa II beyond the Jordan the 
inclusion of their adjoining territories could not be long delayed. 
Whether there were frontier incidents we do not know, but there 
were sufficient grounds for the decision in the need of a provincial 
control of Arabia to protect the potentially rich Decapolis, and, 
more important, to tap effectively the trade route between the 
Red Sea and Syria. Accordingly, the new Syrian governor for 
105, A. Cornelius Palma, was sent out with orders to annex the 

To perform this task, he took the legion VI Ferrata 1 and 
auxiliary troops, but from the fact that he carried on despite the 
outbreak of the Second Dacian War, it is evMent that little serious 
resistance was anticipated; and Roman coins, beginning probably 
in 1 08, which celebrate Arabia adquisita not capta and show 
on their reverse an already peaceful province, bear out this 
optimism. Some opposition was indeed encountered before the 
outlying tribesmen would accept the stricter control of Rome 2 , 
enough together with his duties in organizing the new province 
to earn for Palma triumphal decorations, a statue in the Forum 
of Augustus and a second consulship on his return home in 108 : 
but perhaps these very honours were in part a recognition of his 
success in avoiding serious disturbance; and of Arabia it may fairly 
be said that 'nulla pars imperil pariter inlacessita transiit/ 

The new province followed fairly closely the limits of the 
Nabataean kingdom, though on the west some towns of the 
Decapolis were included in it, and in the north, where as late as 

1 A. H. M. Jones, J.R.S. xvm, 1928, p. 147. 

2 Cf. Ammian. Marc, xiv, 8, 13. 


95-6 its boundaries seem to have reached the parallel of Damascus, 
a line drawn across the Gebel Hauraln just north of Bostra assigned 
a large area to the Syrian administration. Bostra, which received 
the titles Nova Traiana, became the legionary and administrative 
headquarters with VI Ferrata as its garrison 1 , though Petra 
remained the principal town and was later dignified with the 
name of metropolis. One legion was a sufficient protection, and 
its station suggests that its first duty was to comb out the Haurtn 
country, where the nature of the ground presented difficulties 
comparable on a smaller scale to those of the Numidian frontier; 
and the pacification of outlying districts may have taken some 
years. The Arabian tribesmen were good fighters and auxiliary 
regiments were raised in time for the Parthian War, in which their 
familiarity with desert conditions made them specially useful. 

Of prime importance, however, was the great arterial road 
running right through the province 'a finibus Syriae usque ad 
mare rubrum' which was built between 111114 under the 
governor C. Claudius Severus, and of which many milestones 
still survive. From the Gulf of Akaba in the south, it passed 
through Petra, Philadelphia and Bostra and continued to Damascus 
and the Syrian centres, and its purpose was as much commercial 
as strategic. It marked a fresh stage in the progress of Roman 
relations with India. A Roman fleet was stationed in the Red Sea, 
and it was this interest rather than his Dacian successes that 
brought an Indian embassy to Trajan about 107. Though the 
province itself was peaceful, a few strong points were fortified 
to protect the trunk road and its caravans against marauding 
Bedouin raids, and it has been thought that the forts at least of 
El~Leggftn and Odmh are Trajanic in date 2 . But if the pro 
vince owed its incorporation to its value as a highway, its internal 
development was not neglected, and on this ground alone the 
annexation was abundantly justified by results. The provision and 
conservation of water supplies was undertaken at once 3 , branch 
roads spread inwards from the main artery 4 , land was rapidly 
reclaimed for cultivation and settled, and from the Trajanic period 
dates the rise of many cities, besides fresh prosperity for older 
foundations such as Gerasa which had already benefited by the 
Flavian settlement of Palestine. 

1 Replaced under Hadrian by III Cyrenaica from Egypt. 

2 Briinnow-bomaszewski, Die Provincia Arabia, i, p. 4325 n, p. 24: 
c A. Poidebard, La Trace de Rome dans le desert de Syrie, p. 52. 

3 I.G.R.R. in, 1273, 1289, 1291. 

4 E.g. C.I.L. in, 14176^ 3 ; jinn. /pig. 1927, no. 1515 c no. 147. 


Meanwhile, the uneasy relations between Rome and Parthia 
had shown a growing tension. More than once under the Flavian 
dynasty there had been at least a threat of war (pp. 143 sqq^). The 
accession of a prince of known military ambition, who had already 
taken part in operations which, if not open warfare, had earned 
triumphal honours for their author, bred anxiety in a Parthia 
weakened by internal rivalries which the overthrow of the Dacian 
king did nothing to allay. That Decebalus and Pacorus had 
been in correspondence was a fact which was probably known or 
guessed in Rome long before Pliny went to Bithynia, and among 
the causes of the Arabian annexation one may well have been the 
closing of normal trade avenues through Parthia during the First 
Dacian War. And if there was one lesson Trajan had learnt in 
Dacia, it was a distaste for compromise. Moreover, from that 
date, and especially from the death of Sura about 1 1 o, we may 
trace a strengthening of the military element in the Emperor's 
entourage, and like other great soldiers he grew bolder as he grew 
older. In these circumstances the spark of war was not slow to flare. 
Pacorus died about i 1 o 1 , and in the internal disputes which 
accompanied the accession of the new king Osroes, Roman 
prerogatives in Armenia were infringed. Trajan seized the oppor- 
tunity: he had not picked the quarrel, but he was ready for the 
campaign, and there is no reason to doubt that he welcomed a 
chance to settle the troublesome Armenian question once for all 
time 2 . 

The course and even the chronology of the war which broke 
out in 113 are still far from clear; and if a reconstruction of 
Trajan's strategy in Dacia depends on frail deductions from a 
sculptured record, the historian of the Parthian campaigns must 
build for the most part on scraps of late evidence which are even 
more easily impeachable. The narrative which follows must be 
therefore treated with reserve and many of its conclusions as at 
best provisional 3 . The peace of Corbulo in 63, while it had found 

1 Suidas, sw. evrt/eX^a., 002/77x7;$ Cureton, indent Syriac Documents y 
p. 41; B.M.Gat, Parthia^. 2055 c R. P. Longden, Notes on the Parthian 
campaigns of Trajan, J.R..S. xxi, 1931, p. 12. 

2 There is not sufficient evidence in Pliny, p. x that he had planned it 
beforehand, as is sometimes alleged, e.g. by O. Cuntz, Hermes 3 LXI, 1926, 
p. 192, cf. Longden, op. cit. p. 19. 

3 The whole subject is more fully discussed in the article by the present 
writer cited above. The chronological problem, whether the aggressive cam- 
paigns occupied two years or three, is one which may soon be finally solved 
by fresh epigraphic evidence; for the rest no demonstrable conclusions are at 
present at all likely (see further, Note I, p. 858 sq.)* 


a means for both parties to abandon without discredit the pitiful 
gymnastics of the previous ten years, and did much to enable 
them to recognize their common interests (Vol. x, p. 773), poss- 
essed one vulnerable point. To secure it Rome gave up much: 
she virtually abandoned Armenia to the Parthians, and perhaps 
her contemporary statesmen were wise enough to see that the 
loss was more apparent than real. But on her prestige in Armenia 
depended the peace of the Black Sea, over whose littoral tribes 
she retained the overlordship. This was to the Parthians of only 
secondary interest, though both powers recognized the danger 
from the Trans-Caucasian tribes, and the terms of peace satisfied 
Roman requirements by conceding her the right of enfeoffment 
over Armenia, which henceforth accepted its kings from the 
Parthian royal house. More than this Rome could not surrender, 
and the continuance of peace therefore rested on the willingness 
of Parthia to observe her side of the bargain. 

How long Tiridates himself survived his co-signatory is un- 
known, but in due course and with the approval of Rome one 
Axidares, a son of Pacorus, ascended the Armenian throne, and 
here matters stood when, after the death of Pacorus, the new 
Great King Osroes took it upon himself to depose this individual 
and proclaim another son of Pacorus, Parthamasiris, king of 
Armenia in his place. The reasons which prompted Osroes to 
this decision are obscure. His own version, when confronted by 
the prospect of war, was that Axidares had proved unsatisfactory 
to both his masters, which means no doubt that (according to 
Osroes) he had failed to preserve order in his kingdom 1 ; but it is 
probable that a more compelling motive was the need to secure 
a crown for Parthamasiris who, as the eldest son of the late 
monarch, had some title to the Parthian throne itself, 

Axidares appealed to Rome and at the same time resisted his 
brother's invasion, which even by the summer of 1 14 had gained 
only a partial, if promising, success 2 . The affair was thus brought 
to Trajan's notice as a deliberate flouting of the Roman prero- 
gative which was the mainspring of the Neronian treaty, and no 
responsible government could have ignored the challenge, least 
of all an emperor whose deeds had already recalled Rome to a 
sense of her imperial mission. It might have been politic to have 

1 A case against Axidares can scarcely be manufactured from the few 
obscure hints of trouble among the Black Sea tribes before the Parthian 
War (and even possibly as far back as Domitian); Suidas, s.v. 
Jordanes, Romana, 267; Moses Chorenensis, ir, 54-5. 

2 Suidas, s.v* Gv0e?av> Longden, op. cit. p. 25. 


stopped at small measures: a personal visit to the frontier and 
a firm display of force would probably, though not certainly, 
have restored order and coerced the Parthian king; but it is 
scarcely surprising that Trajan chose another way. There is no 
evidence that he originally intended anything more than the 
annexation of Armenia 1 ; and for that there were persuasive reasons, 
even though fundamentally unsound. Armenia had been a thorn 
to Rome since the days of Pompey and the only thinkable solution 
that had not now been tried and found wanting was the clear-cut 
one of annexation. Such had been the fate of all the Roman 
protectorates one by one, generally to their material advantage. 
The last experiments in Dacia and Arabia were an acclaimed 
success, and with a like solution of the one outstanding problem 
Trajan might claim to have consolidated the imperial scheme of 
Augustus and to bequeath to his successors a State unified, 
respected and secure. If this were all, it had been well, however 
valueless Armenia might prove. But circumstances to be des- 
cribed drew Trajan on, and imagination it need not be doubted 
lent her wings. If eastern conquest had not yet the lure which 
generations of adventure, and not least his own, imparted to it, 
there was a glitter in the Orient even then and the success of 
Alexander, the failure of Crassus and Antony, were still themes 
to kindle one who was before all a soldier. And so, on October 27, 
113, still uncertain of his final plans, the Emperor left Rome for 
his last and most expensive enterprise. 

At Athens an embassy from Osroes met him but received little 
satisfaction; and, crossing through Asia and Cilicia, he reached 
Antioch in person at the close of the year to review the situation 2 . 
His arrival was greeted by envoys from Abgar, the ruler of the 
westernmost Mesopotamian principality of Osrhoene, who was 

1 On this he had probably determined before he left Rome, though 
Suidas, s.v. Y^COCT^//^;^ 0-0.9, and Dio (LXVIII, 17, 3) might be quoted to show 
that he still kept an open mind until his arrival in Syria. 

2 The story of Malalas (xr, 2703), derived according to himself from 
Domninus, that he came to meet a Persian invasion of Syria, which had even 
captured Antioch, cannot be substantiated, despite attempts which have been 
made to throw over it the mantle of Arrian's authority; Graf von Stauff- 
enberg, Die romische Katsergeschichte bei Malalas > p. 261 sqq. y cf. Longden, 
op. at. p. 29. Nor can the theory, for which there is some support in the 
writings of Christian authors, of an earlier war about 108 fare better. It is 
true that Suidas s.v. errLK\rj^a seems to attest hostile manoeuvres before 
the death of Pacorus, but at present he stands alone, although there is some 
evidence in the coinage of both Alexandria and Antioch that a visit of Trajan 
to the East was at any rate contemplated about 108. 

C.A.H. XI 1$ 


trying., successfully as It turned out, to preserve his crown by 
judicious hedging between Rome and Parthia. Accepting for the 
moment his protest of neutrality, in the spring of 114 Trajan set 
out for Armenia. The composition of his army remains uncertain. 
There were already eight legions in the East, XII Fulminata and 
XVI Flavia in Cappadocia, II Traiana, III Gallica and IV Scythica 
in Syria, X Fretensis in Judaea and VI Ferrata in Arabia. Of 
these, VI Ferrata, until recently a Syrian legion, had lately seen 
service on campaign (p. 237) and its use in the Parthian War is 
proved 1 . The brunt of the fighting would naturally fall on the 
legions of Cappadocia and Syria, but the latter seem, as often 
both earlier and later, to have been of doubtful fighting capacity, 
at any rate at first, and tried reinforcements from the Danube 
were accordingly summoned. It cannot be determined at what 
point the new drafts were sent for> but it is likely that the first 
serious call came with the extension of the war in 1 1 5 and in- 
tensified with the emergencies of the following year. In response, 
the legion XV Apollinaris came permanently to the East, and 
with it portions of at least four others, I Adiutrix, I Italica, 
VII Claudia and XXX Ulpia, while vexillationes from the other 
two Lower Moesian legions are not to be excluded 2 . 

From Antioch, Trajan went first to the headquarters of XII 
Fulminata at Melitene, on which he conferred some privileges 3 . 
The place commanded the southern of the two practicable roads 
into Armenia, and Trajan, though his principal objective lay 
along the northern route, proceeded to secure his flank by sending 
a column up the Murad Su to take Arsamosata, one of the 
principal Armenian towns and the metropolis of this valley 4 . This 
was accomplished without fighting, and the Emperor continued 
his journey to Satala, where possibly the first of the Danubian 
troops met him. At this point, still in strictly Roman territory, 
he summoned an assembly of the local kings. One of these, 
Anchialus, king of the Heniochi, was specially rewarded, perhaps 
for service in a border campaign against his neighbours the Laxae; 
the others did homage and were confirmed in their kingdoms. 
The narrow valleys between the Roman frontier and the river 
Phasis admitted a number of separate chiefs who swelled the 

1 Dessau 2726, 9471. 

2 LG.R.R. in, 173, preserves a trace of the passage of the Danubian 
troops through Ancyra. 

3 Procopius, de jtedif. m, 4. 

4 Adopting von Gutschmid's emendation of Dio LXVIII, 19, 2, cf. Dio, 
ed. Boissevain, in, p. 207. 


gathering at Satala 1 : of more weight were the rulers of Iberia 
and Colchis and of the Bosporani and Sauromatae north of the 
Euxine who obeyed the call to give pledges of their loyalty and 
to receive Trajan's instructions. There was, however, one notable 
absentee. Trajan had come a long way to meet Parthamasiris, and 
his subsequent excuse that he had been prevented by his brother's 
troops was not well received. The march continued up the Frat Su 
and in the camp at Elegeia, at the strategic centre of Armenia 
near Brzerum, the meeting took place 2 . 

Parthamasiris attempted to justify himself by incriminating 
Axidares. He declared that his appointment by the reigning 
Parthian monarch made him the rightful king of Armenia and 
reminded Trajan of the Neronian agreement, by which all that 
was necessary was his formal investiture at Trajan's hands. This 
he had now come voluntarily to receive, and taking off his diadem 
he laid it at the Emperor's feet. Trajan replied that it had been 
no part of the Neronian treaty that the Parthian king should 
depose Armenian rulers, once lawfully invested, at pleasure and 
without consulting Rome: if such were the case Rome's rights 
became a farce. But further argument was unnecessary, for it 
was no longer a question between Axidares and Parthamasiris; 
Armenia belonged to Rome, and was to have a Roman governor. 
Parthamasiris and his Parthian entourage were dismissed and 
were given an escort out of the country, but on the way he shared 
the fate of many Armenian pretenders before him, and the guilt of 
his death was imputed to Trajan himself 3 . His disappearance might 
doubtless be convenient, but the case is unproven; if Trajan was 
indeed its author he thereby closed another avenue to a recon- 
ciliation with Osroes, but against that the annexation itself had 
already locked the door. 

After Elegeia, there was little more to do in Armenia: in the 
presence of Trajan's overwhelming force its inhabitants were 
powerless to resist and its provincial organization was undertaken 
at once. For the present it was to go with Armenia Minor and 
Cappadocia which were now separated from the Galatian complex, 
and the new administration was put in the hands of L. Catilius 
Severus, who had been consul in ucA The annexation made 
a profound impression at Rome, and Trajan now at last consented 
to the inclusion of the cognomen Optimus among his official titles, 

1 Arrian, Perip. n. 2 For the Parthian War see Map 3, facing p. 105. 

3 Suidas, s.w. ryvcbcn,?. Trap a/3 d\,cov, Fronto, Prmc* Hist. p. 209 N. 

4 Ann.epig. 1 934, no. 30. Dessau 1338 records probably the first provincial 
procurator, T. Haterius Nepos, subsequently prefect of Egypt. 


while during this year he received two and possibly three fresh 
imperatorial salutations. Certain details remained to be cleared 
up. Those chieftains who had not obeyed the summons to Satala, 
notably perhaps the king of the Albani, who received a new 
monarch at this time, reaped their reward; and Lusius Quietus 
with a mobile column was sent down the Araxes valley to receive 
the submission of the Mardi, to the east of L. Van 1 . By mid- 
summer 1 14 or little later, the campaign was over. 

Trajan was now faced by a new problem. The season was yet 
young and his army was fresh, having seen little fighting. Should 
he retrace his steps to Cappadocia or should he return by way of 
Mesopotamia, testing for himself the sentiments of those satraps 
who had sent their embassies to Antioch or met his advance with 
gifts ? He chose the latter course, and thereby committed himself 
irrevocably. On his approach, the Parthian vassal-kings were 
divided. They were in a difficult position, for of Osroes there was 
no sign and Trajan's future intentions were uncertain. Descending 
from Armenia, he occupied Nisibls, which at this time probably 
belonged to Mebarsapes, whose satrapy of Adiabene covered 
a wide area on both sides of the river Tigris. A centurion 
named Sentius had been sent to Adenystrae with a message to this 
monarch, no doubt summoning him to meet Trajan. Mebarsapes, 
who had already had a brush with the Romans perhaps with the 
column of Quietus on the borders of Adiabene and south-eastern 
Armenia and had no doubt an inkling of what was to become of 
his kingdom, arrested Sentius; but on the approach of Trajan 
he retired behind the Tigris, and Sentius managed to deliver 
Adenystrae to the Romans, while Quietus continuing his journey 
perhaps from L. Van met the Emperor at Singara, which he had 
occupied without opposition. All northern Mesopotamia was 
now within Trajan's grasp and the ease of his conquest tempted 
him. In fact like other Roman demonstrations beyond the 
Euphrates it had been less a conquest than a triumphal progress, 
unopposed except by sporadic guerrilla warfare: and indeed the 
coin legend commemorating the double annexation Armenia et 
Mesopotamia in potestatem P.R. redactae suggests as much. 

^ Winter was now approaching and, leaving garrisons behind 
him, Trajan returned towards Antioch through Osrhoene, whose 
king Abgar he had yet to meet. Abgar had temporized so long 
as he dared, but the approach of troops made his submission 
inevitable and he received the Emperor at Edessa with protesta- 
tions of humility which, together, so Dio says, with the personal 
1 Themistius, Or. xvx, p. 250, ecL Dindorf, cf. Suidas, $v* 


recommendations of his son, succeeded in preserving his crown. 
Trajan was in fact in a good humour. The year's campaigning had 
been successful beyond all anticipation and had yielded not one 
but two fresh provinces to the Empire at negligible cost. On the 
news of the fall of Nisibis he had been popularly accorded the 
title of Parthicus which appears irregularly on inscriptions from 
the end of 114, but which was not officially assumed until after 
the fall of Ctesiphon in the following winter 1 . Abgar thus escaped, 
but a neighbouring potentate, Sporaces of Anthemusia, was not so 
fortunate, and fled, leaving his territory to be annexed. 

Trajan now returned to Antioch, leaving a substantial army 
to garrison the new provinces and prepare for a fresh campaign 
in the following year. The rapidity of his conquest of Armenia, 
as well as the strategic advantage which it conferred, had made it 
impossible for Osroes to defend northern Mesopotamia, and there 
were other reasons for his absence. The disputes following the 
death of Pacorus II had produced that restlessness among the 
subordinate Parthian rulers which was a concomitant of nearly 
every change in the Great Kingship ; and with the approach and 
still more with the success of Trajan, the independence of many 
of these vassals broke into open rebellion. This insolence was not 
confined to the satrapies nearest to the Roman arms; for there 
are traces of revolts in Persis and Elymais, while a rival king, 
another Vologases 2 , issued coins from some locality undetermined, 
and on the shores of the Persian Gulf Attambelus V was perhaps 
already showing the spirit which inspired both his welcome and 
loyalty to Trajan in 1156. It was vital for Osroes to establish 
some sort of unity within his own realm before he could encounter 
Trajan, and in this year 114 we find him planning a campaign 
against yet another princeling, Manisarus, who had taken advan- 
tage of the disturbed conditions to possess himself of some territory 
bordering on Armenia and Mesopotamia which Trajan had not 
yet reached. Manisarus attempted to negotiate with Trajan, but 
his ultimate fate is unknown. 

But while these troubles made it impossible for Osroes to hold 
the line of the upper Euphrates or the Chabur, it was otherwise 
with the Tigris. The vassal-king of Adiabene, Mebarsapes, 
remained loyal and on his success in maintaining his position on 
the Roman left flank depended the fate of the Parthian capital 
at Ctesiphon, lower down the river. To subdue Mebarsapes was 

1 See Note i, p. 858 sq. The errors of Dessau 297 testify to the difficulty 
experienced by the provincials in keeping pace with the rapid changes in the 
Imperial titles at this time. 2 See List of Parthian Kings, p, go. 


therefore Trajan's next task, and during the winter the woods 
round Nisibis were heavily requisitioned for the boats and pon- 
toons needed for crossing the river. Meanwhile, in Syria a dis- 
astrous earthquake occurred, the force of which fell most severely 
on Antioch 5 now overcrowded with court attendants and camp 
followers of one and another kind and during Trajan's presence 
virtually the seat of the Roman government. The Emperor himself 
was only slightly injured, but among the dead was M. Pedo 
Vergilianus, one of the consules ordinarii for 115,, and a third of 
the city lay in ruins. 

Trajan, however, was undeterred by this misfortune, and with 
the approach of spring departed for the Tigris. His main objective 
was now Ctesiphon itself, and serious opposition was to be 
anticipated. A further difficulty lay in the problem of communica- 
tions and supply, since the invading forces must now leave the 
tolerably fertile land of northern Mesopotamia for desert con- 
ditions* In the circumstances, the use of the Euphrates as well 
as the Tigris was plainly right. That some advance had been 
made down this river in the previous year is likely enough, though 
not yet definitely proved 1 : but in any case vessels of reasonably 
substantial draught could navigate the river from the Syrian 
frontier and establish a satisfactory line of communications from 
that base 2 , while the Euphrates expedition could hope to find 
supplies in the Greek riverain cities on their route* The major 
military problem lay before the Tigris force, and it was accordingly 
here that Trajan took command in person. 

The river crossing was fiercely contested, but by distracting 
the enemy with numerous feints and covering the engineers by 
a barrage from infantry and archers stationed on ships anchored 
in the stream, a bridge of boats was eventually built and with the 
arrival of the Roman forces on the left bank the opposition of 
Mebarsapes collapsed and the whole of Adiabene lay open. 
Leaving a force to complete its conquest, for it was destined to 
be annexed also, Trajan descended the river and halted his army 
short of Ctesiphon, perhaps in the neighbourhood of Baghdad. 
Meanwhile, the Euphrates force had descended unmolested into 
Babylonia, possibly as far as Babylon itself 3 . Osroes was still 
occupied with civil troubles, but it is evident that a defence of 

1 The date of the triumphal arch at Doura (S. Gould, Excavations at 
Dura-Europos iv, p. 57) is unfortunately not quite certain* 

2 C Dessau 9471, 2709 (?), 

3 Steph. Byz. j.w. Xa&jvy, <&d\<ya, NaapSaj c Jacoby, F.G.H. 
p. 576 sq. 


Ctesiphon was expected, and a further problem now arose of 
transferring to the Tigris the larger vessels of the Euphrates 
force, suitable for a siege of the city. The original idea of construct- 
ing a canal or utilizing the Naharmalcha was rejected as imprac- 
ticable, and the ships were somehow dragged across the intervening 
desert. The exact tactics which led to the fall of Ctesiphon are 
obscure, but it does not seem to have held out long. Osroes 
himself escaped, but his daughter and his golden throne were 
among the Roman prizes when Trajan entered the city in 

The fall of the Parthian capital was greeted with rapturous 
enthusiasm by the Senate, who voted to Trajan the right to cele- 
brate as many triumphs as he wished ; and the war seemed over. 
Into the highlands of Iran it was neither practicable nor desirable 
to pursue the Parthian king, and Trajan himself reluctantly dis- 
claimed the idea of treading in the footsteps of Alexander. It 
remained to organize the new provinces. Their occupation lasted 
so short a time that it has left behind it little trace, and their 
governors and garrisons are alike unknown. For the latter some if 
not all of the Syrian legions could now be spared, but the lengthen- 
ing of the frontier line and the policing of the new possessions 
must have meant dither a permanent weakening of the Danube 
force, perhaps the removal of I Adiutrix from Dacia, or the 
raising of fresh units. Events forestalled this need, but roads 
could not wait; and a milestone of 1 156 has been found in the 
Gebel Sinjar on the road from Singara to Nisibis 1 . But before 
proceeding to supervise the final settlement, Trajan took one last 
step forward. In the winter of 1 1 56 he descended the Tigris to 
its mouth and received the personal submission of Attambelus, 
the king of Mesene, whose territory included the important 
trading centre of Spasinu Charax and who was confirmed in his 
dominions as a tributary client-king. With the extension of the 
Roman authority to the Persian Gulf, the whole of the Mesopo- 
tamian trade route to the Far East, which had perhaps been 
closed to Rome for some years, fell into her hands. To secure it 
may have been a powerful incentive towards the annexation of 
Mesopotamia, though that it was the original cause of the war 
is much more doubtful. The Emperor returned to Babylon, but 
while he was engaged in drawing up a fresh tariff for this trade 
and deciding its administration in detail 2 , news was brought of 

1 j4nn. eplg. 1927, no. 161. 

2 Fronto, Princ. Hist. p. 209 N. 


a very serious nature : a Parthian army had appeared In Adiabene 
and the whole of the conquered provinces were in revolt. Not 
for the first time, the Roman armies had advanced too fast and 
too far. 

The records of the revolt which have survived are too frag- 
mentary and obscure for any detailed reconstruction of the course 
of events; but enough is known to enable a bare outline to be 
drawn. At least three separate Roman forces were engaged in its 
repression, and their movements give some indication of the nature 
of the attack. The Parthians themselves had concentrated in 
Media, the strongest province still intact, and from that point 
launched a simultaneous offensive against Armenia and Adiabene, 
now the Roman province of Assyria. At the same time a 
sympathetic revolt broke out in Mesopotamia, where Abgar of 
Osrhoene threw in his lot with the insurgents, while in the south 
the city of Seleuceia expelled its Roman garrison and closed its 
gates. Only Attarnbelus, moved perhaps by the proximity of 
Trajan himself, remained loyal. 

The conflict began with a disaster for Rome. Appius Maximus 
Santra, a consular and perhaps the governor of either Assyria 
or Mesopotamia, was defeated and killed, according to a probable 
reading of Fronto, ad Ealcia Taurfl, which, if correct, implies an 
army of invasion descending into Mesopotamia from the north- 
east. This force was led by a certain Sanatruces, perhaps another 
brother of Parthamasiris, who after his death would become the 
Parthian claimant to the Armenian throne, and his son Partha- 
maspates: and at the same time a second son Vologases entered 
Armenia and was only checked by the concession of some territory 2 . 
Meanwhile, in southern Mesopotamia, where, it may be guessed, 
the bulk of the army of invasion was still encamped, the Romans 
were more successful and two legions under Erucius Clarus and 
Julius Alexander recaptured Seleuceia and burnt it. This restored 
order in the south, and Trajan was free to march north to the 
heart of the trouble. 

That the successful opponents of Maximus now entered Syria, 
denuded of its troops, and even captured Antioch can scarcely 
be maintained on the authority of Malalas in view of the silence 
of Dio, who indeed knows nothing of Sanatruces* part in the 

1 Fronto, Princ. Hist.^, 209 N; c E. Hauler, Wim. Stud, xxxvra, 1916, 
p. 167. 

a Dio, Exc, Ur. 16 (cf. Boissevain m, p. 219); Suidas, s.v* 
Malalas xi, pp. 2734 (Bonn). 

VI, n] THE REVOLT OF 116 249 

affair, and ignores the share of the Parthians altogether 1 . Ac- 
cording to Malalas, Trajan defeated Sanatruces, who was killed, 
after his son Parthamaspates had deserted to the Romans: Dio 
states only that Lusius Quietus, now given command of a sub- 
stantial army and probably already adlectus inter praetorios for his 
services in 114, successfully recovered northern Mesopotamia^ 
retaking Nisibis and Edessa, which was sacked and burnt, while 
Abgar lost his crown and probably his life also. Of Trajan's 
presence in this field Dio says nothing, and it has been supposed 
that Malalas here enshrines a tradition which elsewhere also 
confused the deeds of the Emperor and his formidable lieutenant 2 . 
In any case it is not to be doubted that in northern as in southern 
Mesopotamia the Romans were eventually successful in regaining 
the upper hand, but the fate of Assyria is much more dubious 
and Trajan's subsequent actions suggest that it was already lost 
to Rome. 

He had now a difficult decision to take. Whether the revolt 
had been backed by a Parthiap. force under Sanatruces or not, 
Osroes was still intact and might be expected to make a fresh 
attempt to recover his losses ; moreover, the outbreak of the Jews 
in the Levant, which had begun in the preceding year, had 
quickly spread and already assumed dangerous proportions. In 
these circumstances, Trajan resigned himself to a curtailment of 
his plans. Southern Mesopotamia was detached from the province 
and reconstituted as a Parthian kingdom under Parthamaspates, 
who was crowned at Ctesiphon as a client-king 3 . This was a 
makeshift, certainly, but the Euphrates trade route was at least 
nominally retained under Roman control. Armenia and northern 
Mesopotamia were maintained as provinces, and Trajan himself 
turned aside on his journey back from Ctesiphon to direct the 
siege of Hatra, a desert stronghold where the rebels still held out. 
Like Septimius Severus after him, he failed to take it by assault 
and local conditions forced him to withdraw his troops and return 
to Antioch. The hardships of desert campaigning and the strain 
of the past few months had told heavily on his constitution he 

1 Malalas xi, pp. 270 4. An invasion of Syria is at least more likely at this 
point than in 113. For the second part of his account, Trajan's defeat of 
Sanatruces, Malalas appears to quote the authority of Arrian's Parthica > 
and it has therefore been accepted in the text despite the silence of Dio, who 
it must be admitted is not very informative about the revolt, 

2 E. Groag, P.W. s.v. Lusius Quietus, col. 1880. 

3 An inscription recently discovered shows that by the end of 1 1 6 Doura 
on the Euphrates had already passed back into Parthian hands ;M.RostoVtzeff, 
C.R. Ac. Inscr. 1935, pp. 285 sqq. 


was now past sixty and shortly after his return his health began 
to fail. 

At a severe cost, then, the bulk of Trajan's conquests had been 
preserved, and their surrender is an event not of his but of 
Hadrian's principate. But the shock to the Roman arms had had 
a serious effect elsewhere. The most pressing diversion came from 
a Jewish outbreak of savage ferocity which starting apparently 
from Cyrene soon spread all over the Levant. The trouble arose 
in the usual way with racial conflict between Jews and Greeks, 
but rapidly developed into a desperate struggle of the Jews against 
the imperial government. It began in 115 and in Cyrene the 
Jews under a certain Andrew (or LukuasJ quickly gained control, 
The numbers of their victims and the appalling barbarities they 
committed may be an exaggeration of anti-Semite propaganda; 
but it is a fact that buildings and even roads were destroyed and 
the province stripped of its cultivators and reduced to ruins 1 . 
The fury spread to Egypt and Cyprus, and in 116, fanned by the 
news from Mesopotamia, it reached alarming heights. In Egypt, 
where the absence of many troops in the East made firm repression 
impossible, the insurgents were less successful and in Alexandria 
the Greeks won the day; but the city was badly damaged and in 
many of the country districts the Jews were masters 2 . After the 
failure of the prefect, M. Rutilius Lupus, to preserve order, a 
failure for which he was not altogether to blame, command against 
the rebels was given to Q. Marcius Turbo, commander of the 
expeditionary fleet in 114, and peace was gradually restored, 
though a trail of desolation remained and the campaign was not 
over till after Trajan's death. The Jews of Cyprus, who had 
destroyed the capital, Salamis, after annihilating its non-Jewish 
inhabitants, were more easily coerced by troops of whom a detach- 
ment of the legion VII Claudia certainly formed part 4 , and a decree 
was issued forbidding any Jew ever to set foot in the island again 
on pain of death. Meanwhile, the Emperor feared fresh trouble 
from the numerous Jews in Mesopotamia, and Lusius Quietus, 
an obvious choice, was sent back there with a mission of ruthless 
pacification. On his return he was given a fresh charge, Judaea 
itself, despite the presence of a Roman force 6 , had inevitably 

1 Ann. Splg. 1928, nos. i, 2; 1929, no. 9; see p. 673, Orosius vn, 12. 

2 Appian, Bell. Civ. ir, 90, 380; Eusebius, Hist. EccL iv, 2; Chron. ad a. 
Abr. 21313. Cf. A. von Premerstein in Hermes, LYII, 1922, pp. 3051:4. 

3 -<** tpig. i9 2 7 n - 3-. 4 Dessau 9491, 

5 CJ.L. in, 13587, vexillatio of III Cyrenaica. The regular garrison, 
X Fretensis, formed part of the Eastern expeditionary force, Dessau 2727. 


shown signs of a sympathetic restlessness, and Its reward in 1 1 7 
was to receive as governor the sinister Moor, now promoted to 
consular rank and higher than ever in the Imperial favour 1 . With 
the suppression of the Palestinian Jews the rebellion subsided; 
in the face of disciplined troops the fanaticism of the rebels was 
mere suicide. 

But the eastward dram of the army and the rumours of its 
failure, the same causes that had Inflamed the Jewish outbreak, 
were being felt further afield. On the lower Danube the Roxolani 
were restless, and away in Britain though here from other 
causes the northern garrisons were already in retreat 2 . Though 
by the summer of 1 17 order had returned in the eastern provinces, 
the Mesopotamian frontier was still unsettled and the precarious 
hold of the Roman nominee at Ctesiphon already slipping. The 
resources of the Empire were severely strained, and there was need 
of vigorous direction if the recent conquests should be maintained. 
But this was lacking. The Emperor was worn out, and for some 
months now his health had shown alarming symptoms. He 
nevertheless determined on a fresh campaign, but before he could 
leave Antioch a stroke left him partly paralysed; his dropsy was 
Increasing, and at the end of July 1 1 7 he reluctantly set out by 
sea for Italy, leaving Hadrian in charge of the army in Syria. But 
he was not destined to see Rome or enjoy his doubtful triumph. 
A sudden change for the worse compelled him to halt at Sellnus in 
Cilicia, afterwards Traianopolis, and there probably on August 9th, 
after declaring his long delayed adoption of Hadrian 3 , he died. 

In his introduction to a history of the Parthian campaigns of 
L. Verus, Fronto has much to say of the example of Trajan. After 
touching on his warlike exploits, he remarks that even Spartacus 
and Viriathus had considerable military ability, but that in the 
arts of peace *vix qulsquam Traiano ad populum, si qui adaeque, 
acceptior extitit* 4 . The foregoing pages illustrate the facts on 
which his estimate was based: and from them the man's personality 
gradually emerges. His personal tastes were simple: his recrea- 
tions virile. Learning, as it was then fashionable at Rome, he 

1 For details of Lusius' activity in Mesopotamia and Judaea, cf. Groag, 
op. cit. cols. 18814, 

2 The withdrawal of the Scottish garrisons was perhaps already com- 
plete before Trajan's reign, c T. Davies Pryce and R. Birley, J.R.S. 
xxv, 1935, pp. 59 sqq. (see, however. Sir G. Macdonald, ib. pp. 187^.); 
but in northern Britain the trouble was already brewing which burst out 
under Hadrian (p. 313)* 3 On this debated question see below, p. 299 s$. 

4 Cf. also Eutropius, vm, 4, gloriam tamen militarem civilitate et modera- 
tione superavit. 


lacked, but he encouraged Its practice and favoured philosophers, 
and among those closest to him Plotina, Sosius Senecio and 
perhaps Licinius Sura, were keen patrons of the subject 1 . In 
matters of religion he made no claims to personal worship, but 
on the death of Marciana in i r 2 he deified both her and his own 
natural father; his 'patron saint' among the gods was Hercules, 
the comparison of whose career with the labours of the princeps 
could not escape comment 2 . In contrast to the deviousness of 
some of his predecessors, he liked to be thought of as sincere 
and straightforward, and there is no reason to think that he wore 
a mask 3 : his administration and legislation show alike that he 
tried to foster these qualities. Yet his bluntness did not amount to 
rigidity: he showed himself ready to treat all matters referred to 
him on their merits, and his kindliness became a byword. The 
Emperor Julian, writing many years later, makes the gods decide 
that Trajan excelled all other emperors in clemency (Trpaor^g) 4 . 
Such a man was needed in the Roman Empire when Trajan lived, 
a strong man and a just man; Trajan, whatever the wisdom of his 
military adventures, was both, and he served the needs of his 
time. And when in the fourth century the Senate, echoing the 
sentiment that had prompted Trajan's favourite title, prayed for 
a new princefs that he might be felidor Augusto^ melior Traiano, 
they paid a tribute that was well deserved 5 . As subordinate and 
prince, in peace and in war, through fifty years of arduous service 
to his country Trajan had earned his proud epitaph. 

1 For Trajan's own literary studies as princeps, cf, Dio Chrys. Or. nr, 3. 

2 E.g. Dio Chrys. Or. I, 54. Coins of Hercules are very frequent. Cf, 
Strack, op. clt.^ 9.5-104, 133-4- For the ludi Hercuki, see p. 215, 

3 CfV especially Pliny, Pan. passim, and Dio Chrys. Or. nr, 2. 

4 Julian, Symp, 3286. 

5 Eutropius, vrn, 5. For subsequent legends of Trajan and his admission 
into Heaven at the instance- of Gregory the Great, cf, Paribeni, Qptimus 
Princeps, n, pp. 312-16. 




^ If ^HE death of Marcus Aurelius in A. D.I 80 is for Gibbon the 
JL beginning of decline and fall in the Roman Empire. The same 
date may, as suitably, be taken to mark the emergence into the clear 
daylight of history of that highly organized World-Church which 
was destined to survive, and in the West to supplant, the World- 
State that was crumbling into ruin. Not until the sack of Rome by 
Alaric had inspired Augustine's vision of the Civitas Romana giving 
way to the Civitas Dei did the Church become fully conscious of 
its destiny; but already within a century and a half of the Crucifixion 
it had become in essential features an ecclesiastical State with a 
culture fundamentally different from, and in certain ways inimical 
to, that inherited by the Empire from the city-states of Greece and 

The rise of an institution so remarkable becomes less difficult 
to understand if we note the contrast between two periods. For 
three-quarters of a century there is intense spiritual vitality and 
experiment, expressing itself in an ever-increasing variety. Then 
follows a time of conservation and consolidation^ during which the 
main task of the leaders was to restore a coherence, which was 
threatened by the legacy of diversity left by the earlier and more 
creative period. Of the first period the writings of the New 
Testament (with few exceptions) are the literary deposit; the 
second finds its culminating expression c. A.D. 186, in the Adver- 
sus Haereses of Irenaeus. 

Irenaeus was the first to attempt on the grand scale a standardiza- 
tion of the doctrines of the Church. He is the father of Systematic 
Theology. He had studied the defences of Christianity addressed 
to the pagan world by highly-educated ' Apologists' like Justin 
Martyr as well as the works of simpler-minded opponents of 
Gnosticism like Papias and Hegesippus 1 ; and he managed to unite 
the philosophic approach of the former with the appeal of the latter 
to apostolic tradition all on the basis of the acceptance of the 
books of the New Testament, alongside of the Old, as inspired 
scripture. In the next generation Tertullian in Africa, Clement in 

1 See B. H. Streeter, The Primitive Church^ pp. 288 sqq> 9 also 17 sqq. 


Alexandria, Hippolytus in Rome, all read Irenaeus ; and most of 
the statements they make about apostles and their writings look 
like slightly embroidered versions of what he says. Nevertheless 
they are quoted by Eusebius (and by some modern authors) as 
independent witnesses; nor can the possibility be dismissed that 
Irenaeus himself at times 'embroidered' or misunderstood state- 
ments which he in turn derived from Polycarp, Papias or Hege- 
sippus. The survey attempted in this chapter ends with the death 
of Trajan in A.D. 117, but a mention of Irenaeus 1 was needed on 
account of a grave misconception in the traditional view of church 
history. What Irenaeus represents is not apostolic Christianity, but 
rather a critical stage in a process of standardization of beliefs and 
institutions, which continued to be carried on by oecumenical 
councils and afterwards by the Papacy * and of which the logical 
culmination was the Infallibility Decree of 1870. 


To the satiric mood of Tacitus it was a congenial task to paint 
the picture of Rome in flames, Nero singing over it the Tale of 
burning Troy, and then himself accused of ordering the fire 
finding a convenient scape-goat, as well as a further opportunity 
for indulging his histrionic tastes, in a holocaust of Christians 
fantastically conceived in gardens illuminated by human torches 2 . 
But the very notoriety of the events of A.D. 64 which formed the 
grand introduction, so to speak, of the Church to the notice of the 
World explains the exiguous character of the evidence con- 
cerning its early history derivable from Roman sources. A group 
of proletarians, condemned by an emperor for the stupendous 
crime of setting fire to the capital of the world, was necessarily 
from henceforth a secret society suspected by the police. Thus we 
should not expect to find Roman evidence of the doings of 
Christians except in the equivalent of what in modern times we 
should call * Police Court News * ; and precisely in the few surviving 
allusions to police measures or causes cel&bres we do find references 
to Christianity, The most definite of these may be recalled. 

Suetonius gives general summaries of police measures under 
various emperors. Under Nero he mentions penal measures 
against Christians 3 . He may refer only to the persecution described 
by Tacitus; but the context suggests permanent regulations of a 
repressive character. Sulpicius Severus derived his account of the 

1 See further, below, vol. xn. 2 See vol x, pp, 725 $&., 887 so. 

3 Nero, 1 6. 


siege of Jerusalem from the lost portion of Book v of the Histories 1 * 
The speech by Titus on the advisability of destroying the Temple 
shows that, in the view of Tacitus, the Flavian Emperors, though 
quite aware that Christianity differed from Judaism, yet regarded 
it as a highly objectionable 'Jewish superstition.* In the light of 
this we must consider the charge brought by Domitian in 95 
against his cousin Flavius Clemens and his wife Flavia Domitilla. 
The charge ? says Cassius Dio 2 , was * atheism, for which offence a 
number of others also, who had been carried away into Jewish 
customs, were condemned some to death, others to confiscation 
of property.* Judaism, a religion recognized by law, was not very 
likely to be deemed 'atheism' ; but Christians were Gentiles carried 
away into Jewish customs, and they were undoubtedly styled 
* atheists/ on account of their attacks on all pagan religion 3 . 
Moreover, the site of an inscription appears to prove that the early 
Christian Coemiterium Domitillae belonged to this same Flavia 
Domitilla 4 described as Vespasiani neptis^ Le. grand-daughter of 
Vespasian 5 (see above, p. 42). 

Of greater interest is the correspondence (c. A.D. 112) between 
Pliny, when governor of Bithynia, and the Emperor Trajan. 
Suetonius and Tacitus take it for granted that the unpopularity of 
the Christians is deserved. To Pliny must be given the credit of 
trying seriously to investigate the facts. He satisfied himself of the 
truth of the statement made to him that Christians abjured criminal 
acts, adultery, or breach of faith, that they ate at their assemblies 
ordinary food (evidently a reference to the accusation of canni- 
balism) and that on certain days they met before dawn to sing 
responsively hymns to Christ as to a God. The head of their 
offending is their contumacious refusal to obey a grave offence 
in Roman eyes when ordered by the magistrate to renounce their 

Trajan's reply to Pliny is important as revealing the attitude 
adopted by the State to the Church about the end of the period 
covered by this chapter. Christians are not to be sought out for 
punishment, nor arrested on anonymous accusations; if openly 
delated and convicted, they are to be granted a free pardon on 
recantation, but, if they decline to recant, they must be punished. 

1 This was shown by J. Bernays, Die Chronik des Sulpicius Severus^ 

p P- 5 3~7" 

2 LXVII, 14, 25 the words are from Dio's epitomator Xiphilinus. 

3 'Down with the atheists* is the cry of the mob in the Martyrdom of 
Poly carp (9) in A.B. 156. 

4 Dessau 8306. C.LL. vi, 948, 8942. 


We note that both Pliny's letter and Trajan's answer take it for 
granted that the profession of Christianity is illegal ; the point of 
Trajan's rescript is that, though in the last resort the authority of 
law must be upheld, its non-observance in this case is to be con- 
nived at so far as is decently possible. Christianity to the educated 
Roman was one of those oriental cults the westward spread of which 
was felt to be a sign of the decadence of the age; it differed from the 
rest in vileness of practice and criminal intent: nova et malefica 
suferstitio; per flagltia inmsos; exitiabilis supers 'titio. Seemingly the 
charges, mentioned later by Tertullian, of 'Oedipodean morals 
and Thyestean banquets' were already current. To Pliny Christ 
is a cult-deity; Tacitus is aware that, unlike other cult-deities, he 
was a historical character of recent date having been put to death 
(presumably for good reason) by the Roman procurator Pontius 

Jewish sources in effect, Josephus and the Talmud yield, 
though for different reasons, less evidence than Roman. Josephus 
was a hellenized Jew, who wished to appear more hellenized than 
he was; and it was essential for him to retain the favour of the 
Emperor Vespasian. In the years preceding the sack of Jerusalem, 
A.D. 70, the Jews had managed to incur universal detestation in 
the Gentile world ; Josephus wrote largely with the apologetic aim 
of lessening this impression. Obviously, then, the less he said 
about Christianity, the better; the Jews were unpopular enough 
without emphasizing the fact that they were responsible to the 
world for originating this * superstition ' also. There are in Josephus 
only three brief allusions to John the Baptist, to Jesus and to 
James the brother of the Lord 1 ; and unfortunately those to Jesus 
and James are open to the suspicion of interpolation by Christian 
scribes 2 . 

The Mishnah, the earliest portion of the Talmud, does not seem 
to have taken shape till after A.D. 150, and was not published in its 
present form before A.D. 220. The nature of the work a collection 
of rulings on debatable texts of the Old Testament is such that 
it has little occasion to allude to non-biblical historical events other 
than acts or sayings of great Rabbis ; it never, for example, mentions 

1 Ant. xvm [3, 3], 63-45 [5, 2], 116-1195 xx [9, i], 200, 

2 Eisler's suggestion (The Messiah Jesus, etc.} is interesting, that the 
phrases evidently of Christian origin are not mere additions to the text, but 
laudatory substitutions for remarks which in the original were hostile and 
offensive. But nothing can be said for his conjectural restorations of the 
presumed original by means of interpolations found in a Slavonic version of 
Josephus which seems to have been made about the time of the Crusades. 
See J. M. Creed, Harvard Theological Review xxv, 1932, pp. 277 sqqr. 


the name of the great national hero, Judas Maccabaeus. In the 
Talmud Christians (Minim = heretics) are rarely mentioned; and 
only in order to condemn some Christian usage or interpretation 
of scripture. The few allusions to Jesus himself are rare, and clearly 
originate in anti-Christian polemic; they are merely evidence of 
the prior existence of Christian beliefs about Jesus which they are 
a clumsy attempt to rebut 1 , 


Of primary importance are the epistles of the Apostle Paul. 
A century of critical discussion justifies us in accepting as authentic 
(naming them in a probable chronological order) I and II Thessa- 
lonians, Galatians, I and II Corinthians, Romans, Philippians, 
Colossians and Philemon, perhaps Ephesians, but only some frag- 
ments (mostly embodied in II Timothy) of the epistles to Timothy 
and Titus (see below, p. 290 sq^. The epistle to the Hebrews does 
not purport to be by Paul ; it was already well known to Clement of 
Rome (it was probably originally addressed to that church), and 
may be dated 8090. Chronologically the epistles of Paul are 
linked, on the one hand to the first generation of Christianity, on 
the other to secular history. Casual allusions to Peter and John, 
and to James and other * brethren of the Lord' show that the author 
was a contemporary of Jesus; while by means of the Acts of the 
Apostles he can be connected with certain personages whose dates 
are known to us from pagan sources. Since the conjunction of the 
epistles with the Acts is the sheet-anchor of early Christian 
chronology, more must be said about that book. 

The latter part of the Acts gives an account of complicated 
journeyings to and fro in Asia Minor and through the coast towns 
of the Aegean made by Paul on his various preaching tours. These 
bring him into contact with persons like Sergius Paulus, Gallio, 
Felix, Festus and Agrippa, about whom we have information from 
other sources ; and he stays at places about which, from inscriptions 
and allusions in ancient authors, we know a great deal. Such is the 
accuracy with which the representation of Acts accords with other 
information, that the book must either have been written by a 
companion of the Apostle as the employment of the first person 
plural *we' in the latter part of the Acts would prima fade suggest 
or else reproduces with considerable fidelity a diary kept by such 
a companion. 

This narrative, in combination with occasional allusions in the 
letters of Paul, enables us to determine the place of writing, and 
1 See J. Klausner, Jesus of Nazareth, pp. 1 8 sqq* 

C.A.H. XI 


approximately the date, of the majority of his letters. We are thus 
enabled to make full use of the historical evidence implied not only 
in these particular letters,, but others which are connected with them 
by style or otherwise. For example, the first epistle to the Thessa- 
lonians was evidently written during the visit to Corinth described 
in Acts xviii, when Paul was arraigned before the proconsul Gallio. 
An inscription found at Delphi shows that Gallio was proconsul 
in A.D, 52, and that office was rarely held for more than one year, 
I Corinthians was written during the long residence at Ephesus 
(Acts xix); II Corinthians on the way from Ephesus to Achaia 
(xx, 12); Romans when again at Corinth (xx, 3); Colossians and 
Philemon during Paul's last imprisonment. As I Thessalonians 
(with the possible exception of Galatians) appears to be the earliest 
of the surviving letters of Paul, we can assign the whole series to 
the period 5064. The letters, however, were clearly written in the 
latter part of his career, so that Paul was almost an exact contem- 
porary of the historic Jesus ; for the Crucifixion occurred under 
Pontius Pilate who governed Palestine A.D. 26 3 6 1 . 

The critical historian will draw a distinction between the earlier 
and later parts of Acts. Thus, while xvi xxviii rests in the main on 
the personal reminiscences of a companion of Paul, the section i xv 
appears to depend on traditions derived from Jerusalem or Antioch, 
of which some may well go back to circles hostile to Paul. We 
cannot recover the sources used; but, since the Gospel of Luke 
is by the same author, we can test his general fidelity to sources 
by the way in which in the earlier volume he uses Mark. So tested, 
he is seen to reproduce a source far more faithfully than does his 
contemporary Josephus when dealing with the Old Testament 
and Maccabees 

The Gospel of Luke and the Acts constitute a single work in 
two volumes written for an educated public. The work is, in a 
sense, a 'Defence of Christianity/ in the form of an account of the 
origins of the religion from the birth of the founder up to the eve 
of Nero's dramatic attack upon it. The case of Flavius Clemens and 
Domitilla, if rightly interpreted above, proves the existence before 
A.D. 95 of interest in Christianity in some circles of the Roman 
aristocracy. Since the Acts ends on an exultant note, with Paul's 
preaching of Christianity in Rome, it is probable that the author 
had these circles in mind. He is naturally concerned to state a good 
case for the religion he professes and that, not merely because he 
believed it to be true (and there was no inducement in those days 

1 Chronologists dispute whether the year of the Crucifixion was A.J>. 29, 
30 or 33. Sec vol. x, p. 649, n. 4. 


to profess Christianity unless one was passionately convinced of its 
truth) but also because a secret society suspected by the police 
simply cannot afford *to wash its dirty linen in public/ Hence he 
emphasizes the favourable attitude of Roman officials, like Pilate 
(Lk. xxiii, 125)3 Gallio (Acts xviii, 1417)3 or Festus (Acts xxv, 
25; xxvi, 312)3 who all attest their conviction that Christians are 
neither criminals nor political revolutionaries. For the same reason 
he says as little as possible about the internal feuds between Paul 
and the Judaizing party who stood for strict observance of the Law 
of Moses feuds which, as we gather from the Epistles, nearly 
split the Church. Again, as appears from Paul's own summary of 
his toils and endurances (II Cor, xi> 247), there are big gaps in 
his story. The omission is due partly, perhaps, to lack of informa- 
tion, but mainly to his having less interest in an Apostle's biography 
than in the onward march of the Church. Lastly, being absolutely 
convinced of the supernatural mission of Christ and his Apostles, 
the canon of probability which he naturally applies in the acceptance 
or rejection of stories involving miracle is the opposite of that of 
a modern historian. 

After the epistles of Paul, the earliest surviving document of 
primitive Christianity is the Gospel of Mark, probably produced 
in Rome about A.D. 65 1 * Papias (writing c. 135) reports 'The 
Elder* a personage of an earlier generation as saying that Mark 
based his Gospel on reminiscences of Peter's preaching 2 ; and many, 
though not all, of the stories included in the Gospel may well have 
been derived from that Apostle* 

It is generally agreed 3 that the authors of the Gospels ascribed 
to Matthew and Luke derived from Mark the greater part of their 
narrative material, other than their accounts of the Infancy and the 
Resurrection Appearances. Mark, however, contains very little 

1 The 'abomination of desolation' (Mk. xiii, 14) is not an allusion to the 
destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Mark would not have 
used the masculine participle ecrTrjtcQTa (contrast ecrro? in Mt. xxiv, 15) 
with the neuter word /3$e\vty/j,a unless with the express intention of indicating 
that he interpreted this famous but mysterious phrase as the description of a 
person. The book of Daniel concludes with a prophecy (xii, 1112) that the 
present world-order will come to an end 1335? days after the appearance of 
this /BSeXvy/uia, Mark takes this to mean the personal Anti-Christ who (as 
appears from II Thess. ii, 112) was expected to manifest himself in the 
Temple shortly before the Return of Christ* Mark would not have held this 
view unless the Temple had been still standing when he wrote* 

2 Eusebius, Hist. Bed. in, 39, 16. 

3 For evidence in regard to this and other statements about the Gospels, 
see B. H. Streeter, The Four Gospels, 


of the teaching of Christ; for this we are mainly dependent on 
Matthew and Luke. To the extent of about a couple of hundred 
verses their concurrence in material not derivable from Mark is 
such as to make it reasonably certain that they both used a second 
document, which was already in the Greek language. The lost docu- 
ment was probably older than Mark; it is commonly referred to 
as Q. Most of the parables, and many of the epigrammatic sayings, 
of Christ occur either in Matthew or in Luke only. The extent and 
character of the material found only in Luke makes it highly 
probable that (besides Mark, Q and oral tradition) he made use 
of a third considerable written source. This source may have 
already been combined with Q, and the combination (which can 
in that case conveniently be styled Proto-Luke) may have included 
a version of the Passion story. That some at any rate of the 
sayings and parables found in Matthew only were derived from 
a written source is a probable hypothesis 1 . 

The Gospel of Matthew is quoted in the (probably Syrian) 
"Didache of perhaps c. 100 and by Ignatius of Antioch (c. 1 15) in 
a way which implies that it was the predominant Gospel, if not the 
only one, known to these writers. The dates which can reasonably 
be assigned to it vary between A.D, 80 and 100. The Gospel was 
evidently composed in a church where the Jewish element was 
strong; but the statement of Irenaeus, repeated with amplifications 
by later Fathers, that it was originally 'published among the 
Hebrews in their own language' is almost certainly an inference 
and that a mistaken one from the statement by Papias (quoted 
by Eusebius) : ' Matthew composed ra Xoyta in the Hebrew tongue, 
and each one translated them as he could 2 / Our First Gospel is 
based on a combination of two Greek sources, Mark and Q; it 
cannot therefore be a direct translation from a single work in 

1 *Form Criticism* is a name given to a recent technique which en- 
deavours to cross-examine the oral tradition presumed to lie behind docu- 
mentary sources like Mark and Q, and to distinguish in that tradition 
between elements which reliably represent words or deeds of Jesus and those 
which reflect the point of view of the early Christian community. These 
endeavours are often suggestive* but, in the opinion of the writer, they are 
always precarious and sometimes perverse. This chapter, however, has been 
so planned that, even if the contrary were the case, it would not require to 
be re-written. 

2 Hist. EccL in, 39, 1 6. Some suppose that by ra \6yca is meant Q, 
others a collection of Messianic proof-texts -, more probably the reference 
is either to our First Gospel or to the discourses contained in it, Irenaeus 
took it to refer to a Hebrew original of the First Gospel; but if Papias meant 
this, he was manifestly in error. 


Hebrew. But if it was not composed in Hebrew, the inference that 
it originated in Palestine falls to the ground. Indeed, its dependence 
on Mark for narrative material, and the legendary character of its 
small supplements to Mark's account of the Passion, tell strongly 
against an origin in the country where authentic independent tradi- 
tions must have longest survived. As the place of origin, a probable 
guess is Antioch. 

The Gospel of Luke seems to have been written independently 
of Matthew and at about the same date. The Theophilus to whom 
it is addressed is saluted as Kpancrre an honorific title, which 
might be rendered 6 Your Excellency/ Theophilus, then, may be 
the 'name in religion/ as it were, of a Roman of high rank; and, 
as the Acts tells the tale of the march of Christianity from Jerusalem 
the capital of Judaism to Rome the capital of the world, it was 
probably written in that city. The preface implies that the work was 
put out under the author's own name ; it was customary to give this 
on a kind of label which hung outside the roll. In spite of some 
difficulties the tradition may be accepted that the name was Luke, 
The Gospel of Matthew, on the other hand, may have been 
originally anonymous a communal document produced for the 
use of a local church by a conservative combining and editing of 
venerated documents in the light of generally acceptable inter- 
pretations of obscure or controversial points 1 . 

The Gospel of John is not intended to be read as a biograpny, 
it is a mystical and theological interpretation of the life and teaching 
of Christ. The author draws material from Mark and Luke; 
doubtless also from independent tradition, though neither the 
extent nor the historical value of such tradition would seem great. 
Perhaps the most probable solution of an endlessly debated 
question is the hypothesis that the Gospel is by the same author 
as the three epistles of John, but was published posthumously, after 
some drastic editing. The writer of two of these epistles speaks of 
himself as *The Elder/ and may be identical with 'The Elder 
John' mentioned in a fragment of Papias (V. 140) as *a disciple of 
the Lord' that is, presumably a person who had seen Christ but 
was not of the Twelve. In that case the Johannine epistles may be 
dated c. A.D. 90; but the Gospel, if posthumously edited, may not 
have been given to the Church at large for many years. Hardly 
otherwise can we explain why the letter of Polycarp of Smyrna, 
which has echoes of nearly every book of the New Testament, 

1 Fragments survive of Apocryphal Gospels current in the second century j 
but these appear to be of later date than Matthew and Luke, and probably 
than John. 


including I and II John, shows no trace of a knowledge of the 
Fourth Gospel 1 , The book of Revelation is by a Christian prophet, 
who also bore the quite common name of John ; his work, addressed 
to the 'seven churches of Asia/ c. 85-95, represents a point of view 
widely removed from that of the Gospel. 

The epistles ascribed to Peter, James and Jude demand a brief 
mention. Scholars who uphold the authenticity of I Peter usually 
explain its apparent dependence on Paul by the hypothesis that 
the Silvanus (= Silas, companion of Paul) named as the amanuensis 
was really joint author. Its references to impending persecution 
are of special interest as reflecting the attitude towards a persecuting 
State adopted by Christian leaders. If the letter is not by Peter 
himself, the persecution referred to may be the one centring in 
Smyrna (c A.D. 90) alluded to in Revelation (ii ? 10); or it may be 
that carried out in Bithynia under Pliny in A.D. 112. The ascription 
to James of the writing which bears his name (like that of Hebrews 
to Paul) was probably made after the name of the real author had 
been forgotten; it was perhaps produced in Rome, r 95. Jude can 
hardly have been written by a brother of James ; but may well be 
the work of a Jude who was bishop of Jerusalem about 105. The 
authenticity of II Peter was rejected by Eusebius on the ground 
that it was not quoted by early Christian writers. It incorporates, 
almost verbatim, the greater part of Jude ; it was probably composed 

Of the writings known as the 'Apostolic Fathers * there are three 9 
which may fall within the first century, and which at one time came 
near inclusion in the New Testament Clement, Hermas and the 
Didache. The letter from the Church of Rome to that of Corinth 
ascribed to Clement was apparently written shortly after the death 
of Domitian in A.D. 96. It at once acquired in many churches an 
all but canonical status. It is notable that, while the Old Testament 
alone has for Clement scriptural authority, Romans, I Corinthians 
and Hebrews are already religious classics. The Shepherd of 
Hermas is by a 'prophet/ who wrote in Rome. He speaks of 
Clement as a contemporary, from which it would appear that at 
any rate the first four Visions (which were published at once) are 

1 C P. N. Harrison, Polycarp's Two Epistles to the Philippians, p. 257. 

2 For a detailed discussion of the dates and provenance of the Epistles, 
other than Paul's, and of the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, see B. H. 
Streeter, The Primitive Church. 

3 A portion of the Ascension of Isaiah may well fall within the first cen- 
tury. See the edition of R. H. Charles, 


not later than A.D. loo 1 . The manual of Church Order known as 
the Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles appears to emanate 
from Syria; but the date c. A.D. xoo, which is accepted by most 
scholars, is hotly disputed. The epistle of Barnabas so-called and 
a homily misnamed the * second epistle ' of Clement are of unknown 
authorship. They may be dated 1101355 and are probably both 
products of the Church of Alexandria. In this church there was 
some disposition to include Barnabas in the Canon; and in the 
Codex Sinai ticus it forms, along with Hernias, a kind of appendix 
to the New Testament 2 . In the Codex Alexandrinus (probably 
written in Constantinople) a similar position is given to I and 
II Clement. 

Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, late in the reign of Trajan, was 
condemned to the beasts in the Colosseum. On his way to Rome 
he wrote letters of which there survive seven four written from 
Smyrna and three from Troas. In human interest as the reflection 
of an individual character the letters of Ignatius are second only 
to those of Paul, They were collected at once by Polycarp, Bishop 
of Smyrna, who sent copies to the Church at Philippi with a 
covering letter of his own. The extant letter of Polycarp seems to 
be made up of two letters. The covering letter above mentioned, 
written before there had been time to get news of Ignatius* 
martyrdom, constitutes chapters xiiixiv; chapters i xii represent 
a second letter written perhaps as much as twenty years later 3 . 

This enumeration of Christian * primitives' would be misleading 
without a warning against the error of treating the surviving 
literature as a representative cross-section of Christian opinion in 
the Sub-Apostolic Age. There must have also existed literature 
which at a later date was definitely branded as of a Gnostic or 
Ebionite tendency; this ceased to be copied, and has not survived. 
The severity of the struggle in the second century with extreme 
representatives of these tendencies is explicable only on the 
hypothesis that in a less extreme form they had a strong following 
within the Church. 

1 The statement in the Muratorianum that the Shepherd was by a 
brother of Pius, bishop of Rome (1401 55), involves, among other difficulties, 
that of attributing to the brother of a Pope a work which internal evidence 
shows to have been written before the development of the monarchical 
episcopate at Rome. The statement is probably part of a campaign (of which 
there is other evidence) to eject the book from the place it had almost 
secured in the Canon of the New Testament. 

2 Lightfoot's dating of Barnabas before A.D. 79, though unfashionable, 
is not impossible. 

3 See Streeter, op. cit. pp. 2768, and Harrison, op. cit. passim. 



Christianity began as a de-ossification, so to speak, of the 
emphatically monotheistic legalism of Pharisaic Judaism. It was 
as though the Lord, who spake of old by Amos and Isaiah, had 
awaked as one out of sleep, and like a giant refreshed with wine. The 
trumpet call is sounded by a strange ascetic, John the Baptist, in 
whom is the spirit and power of an Elijah. He summons to 
righteousness against the background of that hope of a catastrophic 
world-redemption which had been generated by two centuries of 
Jewish apocalyptic. But 'the law and the prophets were until 
John * ; he is a mere precursor, there follows one who will baptize, 
not with water, but with fire. 

* I came to cast fire upon the earth ; would that it were already 
kindled' (Lk. xii, 49). Jesus comes as the originator of a new 
epoch, but also as the climax of that unique historic process in 
which the prophets of the Old Testament are the outstanding 
figures. To him as to them, the divine initiative is paramount. His 
call to his appointed task is by a vision and a voice. He constantly 
resorts to the mountain for communion with the Divine. His 
whole being is 'God-centred/ but it is orientated towards a deep- 
ened and more developed conception of God than that of the old 
prophets. Concisely this is expressed by the choice of the metaphor 
of father, in substitution for that of king or judge, as the regulative 
description of the relation of God to man. Correlated to, and 
consequent on, this enrichment in the conception of God, is a 
reiterated insistence on absolute trust as the essence of the right 
attitude of man to the Father in Heaven. How futile, then, to 
debate whether or no Jesus went up to Jerusalem in order to die ; 
he went because he felt it was God's purpose that he should go; 
but even in Gethsemane he was not certain how that purpose 
would work out. To summarize the essence of religion he selected 
two precepts from the Law, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with 
all thy heart and soul and mind and strength, and thou shalt love 
'thy neighbour as thyself. But obedience to these, as he saw it, 
meant a revolutionary reversal of human values which will estimate 
greatness in proportion to service, 'Whosoever of you will be 
chiefest shall be servant of all/ Hence the paradox of the Beatitudes, 
' Blessed are ye poor,' for those who have little at stake in this world 
may more easily adopt towards God the approach of a little child 
which is the way of entry into the Kingdom of Heaven. 

For nearly two thousand years Christians have wrangled over 
the meaning of the titles Son of Man, and Son of God, which Jesus 


seems to have accepted at least when applied to him by others, 
even if he did not (as some think) explicitly claim one or both for 
himself. Had such issues been directly put before him, he would 
have replied, we may perhaps surmise, that in regard to intellectual 
problems of theology, as to the application to life of principles of 
ethics, light sufficient for the day is given day by day, along with 
' daily bread/ to those who look upwards to their Heavenly Father; 
and that insight into these questions sufficient for the needs of an 
individual or an age is among the things that will be added unto 
those who seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. 

Be this as it may, it would be absurd to attempt, in a sub-section 
of a single chapter, to give an outline of the life of Jesus, to present 
in systematic form his teaching, to relate it rightly to that of 
Rabbis or Apocalyptists, to portray his character, or to appraise 
the significance of his person for religion. So large is the theme, 
so vast the literature concerning it, that it is better altogether to 
decline this task. Moreover, the title of this chapter demands 
rather that we trace the developing results of the dynamic impact 
of his personality as exhibited in the more striking features of the 
Christianity of the Apostolic Age. 

The Theocentric outlook taught by the prophets of the Old 
Testament, and re-asserted in the teaching of Jesus, is notably 
characteristic of the primitive Church, Only it has become more 
all-pervasive, more intimate and richer in content, because it is now 
inextricably mingled with what we must call a * Christo-centric * 
religious attitude. In the first generation, and among Jewish 
Christians, this was possible without any sort of theological 
speculation as to the person of Christ. The Palestinian Jew was 
the reverse of philosophically-minded; he naturally thought in 
pictures. Jewish apocalyptic provided the vivid picture of a super- 
natural personage, the Son of Man, sitting on the right hand of 
God until the Great Day, when he would become the divine 
instrument for judging the wicked and initiating the righteous 
into an aeon of superhuman beatitude. The belief in the Resur- 
rection of Jesus was indissolubly connected with the identification 
of him with this apocalyptic Son of Man; but that was not all. The 
day of Pentecost which followed the Crucifixion was a moment of 
spiritual crisis. The little company found itself possessed by a 
throbbing consciousness of a Spiritual Presence accompanied by 
a psychological upheaval which found expression in ecstatic 
utterance and a Visualization* of tongues of fire. They knew them- 
selves to be in personal contact with the Risen Christ. This 
mystical apprehension of *a presence * they expressed to their own 


minds tinder the analogy of the then familiar phenomenon of 
spirit-possession The vividness of the experience, combined with 
the Jewish lack of interest In metaphysic, made it possible for them 
to speak of the possessing spirit alternatively as 'the spirit of God' 
or 'the spirit .of Christ/ or simply as 'Christ/ without feeling any 
need to relate these modes of expression to one another In a logical 
or theological way. 'Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the 
spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (II Cor. iii, 17). Not until 
Christianity had invaded the Greek world, with its pre-occupation 
in metaphysic, did questions of this kind demand an imperative 
answer. Rumblings of the controversy which the attempt to give 
them a philosophical answer Inevitably produced can be heard in 
Colossians; In the opening section of Hebrews, and more clearly 
In the Fourth Gospel, we find adumbrated the main line along which 
the thinking of the later Church was to develop. 

Possession by the Spirit is spoken of by Palul as a phenomenon 
whose presence was as capable of objective verification as Is that 
of a physical disease, save that it manifests itself not as weakness 
but as power (GaL iii, 2 -5). The Immediate results of this experience 
of spirit-possession defined in terms of Christ were psychological 
and ethical. It produced an Internal revolution in the outlook of 
the IndlviduaL * If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature ; the 
old things are passed away/ The community of disciples became 
a fellowship, instinct almost hilariously so (Phil, iv, 4) with 
'love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meek- 
ness, temperance,* which were the authentic 'fruit of the spirit* 
(Gal. v, 22). The words are Paul's, but the quality of life they 
describe he had found already existent in the Church. One natural 
expression of this spirit was the attempt to 'have all things 
common*; another was that habitual submission of all problems, 
individual and communal, to the direction of the Holy Spirit, 
which is so emphasized in the Acts 1 . 

This communal spirit-possession has a bearing on the tradition 
of the sayings of Christ and stories of his deeds. Those which have 
come down to us have done so because they commended them- 
selves to ^ the spiritual Insight and ethical values of the primitive 
community. They afford, therefore, further evidence of the quality 
of life in the community which selected and preserved them. Nor 
are they less evidential to those who accept the contention of ' Form 

1 References to this kind of * guidance' occur even more frequently in 
the Western text, e.g. Acts, xvii, 15 ; xix, i -, xx, 3. This text must be as 
old as A.D. 150, and many of its readings look primitive, C A. C. Clark, 
The Acts ofthe,Apo3tles\ also see Journ* TheoL Stud, xxxrv, 1933, pp. 232,$^ 


Critics * and others, that many of these sayings or stories are a 
product of ' the community mind/ Take, for example, the saying, 
* Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am 
I in the midst* ; if this was not pronounced by the Master when on 
earth, only the more clearly is it evidence of the conviction of the 
community which attributed the words to him, 

Yet another expression of this spirit-possession was the re- 
appearance of c the prophet/ The prophets of the New Testament 
epoch are like those of the Old, in that they were more frequently 
concerned to preach righteousness than to predict the future ; but 
there is an important difference. The Old Testament prophets 
arose in a small nation which felt its national deity to be close at 
hand; and prophecy reached its sublimest expression in the 
Babylonian exile, where the faithful community knew itself to be, 
as it were, an island of devotedness to the true God in an ocean of 
false religions. But later Jewish monotheism, by stressing the 
majesty of God and the littleness of man, had made the gap between 
man and God so great that belief waned in the continuance of the 
kind of personal contact between them which revelation implies : 
in the great days of old, God had spoken with man through his 
prophets, He would not so speak to the little men of the degenerate 
present. For Christians this was changed. Now that the divine 
spirit was thought of as being somehow one with the spirit of that 
gracious Jesus whom they had known on earth, this notion of the 
distance and remoteness of the Divine passed away. Once more 
it seemed natural that sons and daughters should prophesy, that 
young men should see visions and old men dream dreams and 
had not such an outpouring of the spirit been foretold for the last 
days ? (Acts ii, 1 6 jy.). Thus it became an everyday event for some 
Christian to stand forth in the community as a prophet; but instead 
of beginning, *Thus saith the Lord,' his message was given as 
directly inspired by the Spirit of Christ. 

The sublime and varied quality of this spirit of prophecy, when 
functioning at its best and highest, stands out in numerous passages 
in the New Testament. Thus in the midst of a long argument to 
the Corinthians, on the right use of spiritual gifts, Paul suddenly 
passes from prose to poetry, and, with rhythmic speech matching 
exalted mood, dictates the Hymn to Charity (I Cor. xiii). Again 
the substance, perhaps even the wording, of many of the discourses 
in the Fourth Gospel so the author more than hints (John xvi, 
1214) came to him through the spirit 1 . So, too, it was 'in the 
spirit on the Lord's day* that there came to the Seer in Patmos 
1 C B. H. Streeter, The Four Gospels* pp. 365 sqq* 


visions of the Adoration of the Lamb and of the New Jerusalem 
coming down from God out of heaven (Rev. iv; xxi, 2 sqq^. 


After the Fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the membership of the 
Church became more and more of Gentile origin. This meant a 
revolutionary change of interest; and therefore the emergence of 
questions about which there was serious dispute. The Jew sought 
after righteousness., the Greek after wisdom; and philosophy to the 
Greek was what the Law was to the Jew. It is not surprising, then, 
that, while in the first century the question most hotly debated was 
the permanent obligation of the Law of Moses, in the second cen- 
tury it was the Gnostic theory of Creation, or the philosophic 
implications of belief in the Divinity of Christ* 

But for some time even Gentiles displayed little interest in the 
philosophical issues raised by Christian teaching, for the simple 
reason that they confidently expected an immediate return of 
Christ in glory to judge the world and inaugurate a reign of super- 
natural blessedness. Indeed, this 'Advent hope* was the very core 
of the 'good news' which the missionary proclaimed, Paul, in 
writing to the Thessalonians (I Thess. iv, 15 $qq?) and Corinthians 
(I Cor. xv, 52), takes it for granted that he would himself live to 
witness this event. And there are sayings in the Synoptic Gospels 
which, whether or no they are authentic utterances of Christ, at 
any rate prove that Christians supposed that this belief rested on 
his explicit teaching. A community living thus in daily expectation 
of the End of the World would not make plans for future develop- 
ment; and it would take as little interest in questions of organization 
as in the philosophical implications of belief. With the Final Doom 
impending, what mattered was before it was too late to bring to 
as many as possible the message of salvation : * Repent, for the 
Kingdom of Heaven is at hand/ 

But from the very practical nature of this task arose a practical 
question. For centuries Prophets and Apocalyptists had taught 
the Jew to look forward to the Great Day when the yoke of the 
heathen would be broken and Israel would enter into its promised 
destiny on an earth transformed. Then was the call to repent, and 
so share in the glories of the coming kingdom, addressed to the 
Jew only or also to the Greek? Paul tells us (Gal. i, 15 sq^ that 
from the moment of his conversion he had felt that his own duty 
was to preach to the G.entiles, but that James (the brother of the 
Lord), Peter and John were no less convinced that their mission, 
was confined to the Jews, though (apparently only after careful 


consideration of the case submitted to them by Paul and Barnabas) 
they recognized that Paul's work was also appointed to him by 
God (ii, 7/^.)- 

A considerable party in the Church were strongly opposed to 
PauPs views on the importance of the Gentile mission, and still 
more so to his contention that Gentile converts were not to be 
bound by the Law of Moses. One of the earlier sources incor- 
porated in the Gospel of Matthew evidently emanates from this 
* Judaistic' party. Thus the instruction to the Twelve on the subject 
of their missionary duties limits these to Israel. 'Go not into any 
way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans : 
but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel . . . verily I say 
unto you. Ye shall not have gone through the cities of Israel, till 
the Son of man be come' (Mt. x, 57, 23). This limitation to Israel 
is justified on the ground of the nearness of the End; it is not that 
Gentiles and Samaritans have no souls to save, but that the Jew 
has the first claim to hear the call, and there will not be time enough 
to reach both. The phrase 'the cities of Israel' has a large sound; 
it would naturally mean the Israelitish world, not the limited 
numberof townships that a half-dozen pairs of Apostles could cover 
in an apparently brief and experimental preaching tour. It is a 
plausible conjecture that the Matthaean version of the commission 
to the Twelve is the utterance of some Jewish Christian prophet 
reproducing and amplifying words of Christ preserved in oral 
tradition at the time of the controversy about the admission of 
Gentiles to the Church. Since a prophet was regarded as one 
through whom the Spirit of Jesus made authentic communications 
to his followers, 'a word of the Lord' so received did not differ in 
authority from an utterance made during his earthly career. 

The unexpected success of the Gentile mission forced to the 
front an issue far more controversial. Were Gentile converts bound 
by the Law of Moses ? In particular, must they submit to the rite 
of circumcision ? Political and religious causes, past and present 
memories of the Maccabees, nationalistic detestation of Roman 
rule, the blood of martyrs and the hope of glory had combined 
to make Judaism a * Religion of the Law.' Might Gentile * breeds 
without the law' inherit the "promises of Israel/ so faithfully de- 
served, so long deferred ; and that without submitting to the yoke 
which was for Israel at once its discipline, its burden and its pride? 

On this point, our evidence suggests, there was a divergence of 
view even among the three 'reputed to be pillars' of the Church. 
Peter comes to Antioch, doubtless to preach to the Jews who 
formed one-third of the population of the third largest city in the 


Roman Empire* He there finds Gentile Christians; for refugees 
from the persecution in which Stephen fell had been the first to 
preach to the Gentiles in Antioch (Acts xi, 20). He eats and drinks 
with them on terms of religious brotherhood. But such conduct 
involved Peter himself in serious transgression of the Law; for 
Gentiles would not be scrupulous to serve at table only what the 
Jew regarded as 'clean* meats. Next to Idolatry the eating of 
unclean meats was the greatest offence which an orthodox Jew 
could commit. No wonder that, when news of Peter's conduct 
reached Jerusalem,, a deputation was sent down from James to 
protest* So vehement were their representations that not only did 
Peter give way, but even Paul's fellow-worker Barnabas. Paul tells 
us what he said on that occasion (Gal. ii, 1 112); unfortunately, 
he does not tell us what effect his words produced. Did Peter 
resume his previous liberal conduct ? Or did he decide henceforth 
to observe the Law, fearing that, unless he made this concession 
to the conscience of the weaker brethren, he would wreck the 
mission to the circumcision which, after all, was his special call ? 
Probably the latter; had Peter given way to Paul, surely the mere 
statement of the fact would have routed Paul's opponents in the 
Galatian churches. 

The position of Paul In regard to the Law is clear. So, at the 
opposite pole, is the position of James, which Is known to us from 
Acts xxi, 1 8 sqq ., as well as from Josephus and Hegesippus. Paul 
held that by the death of Christ an era had been ended; the Law 
had indeed been divinely instituted, but only for that era; now It 
had been simply abrogated. This attitude to the Law was a logical 
deduction from what to him was the new and essential thing in 
Christianity, the substitution of a * Christo-centric mysticism ' 
a dependence on the Christ within, spiritually apprehended for 
a religion of obedience to a transcendent Deity whose will was 
expressed in a code of rules. On the other hand the party of James 
~- or at least Its more extreme representatives were zealous, not 
merely for the Law of Moses, but also for the observance of the 
meticulously elaborate rules worked out by the Rabbinic inter- 
preters of the Law. Doubtless it is to some prophet belonging to 
this party that we owe * a word of the Lord* prescribing deference 
to their interpretations as lawful successors of Moses ; * The scribes 
and the Pharisees sit on Moses" seat: all things therefore whatso- 
ever they bid you, these do and observe' (Mt. xxiii, 2 $q.}. We may 
suspect a similar origin for the condemnation of Paul's doctrine that 
the Crucifixion had abrogated the Law, ' Till heaven and earth pass 
away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, 


till all things be accomplished (i.e. Its abrogation would not be till 
the End of the World). Whosoever therefore shall break one of 
these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called 
least in the kingdom of heaven* (Mt. v, 1819). Here the 
words * and shall teach men so ? must be a reference to Paul, who, 
we note, is not absolutely excluded from the Church, but degraded 
to the rank of c least in the kingdom of heaven/ To this party 
Christianity was a 'new law/ 

Peter occupied an intermediate position. Left to himself, he had 
spontaneously taken the liberal line ; for what Paul accuses him of 
in Galatians is not wrong belief, but 'hypocrisy' that is of outward 
action which contradicted his real belief. The accusation was made 
in heat, and is not really fair to Peter; for Peter on this occasion 
behaved as did Paul on other occasions, * To the Jews I became as 
a Jew, that I might gain Jews ; . . . to them that are without law, as 
without law,... that I might gain them that are without law' 
(I Cor. ix, 2021). Paul himself must have come to see this; for 
at a later date he speaks of Peter (Cephas) in quite a different tone 
(I Cor. i, 10 sqq. ; iii, 22 ; ix, 5). He will not admit any fundamental 
opposition between himself and Peter, in spite of differences 
sufficiently conspicuous to make it possible for some at Corinth 
to hail them as leaders of rival sects. Paul seems to have grown more 
tolerant with years. To conciliate Jewish opinion he circumcised 
the half-Jew Timothy (Acts xvi, 3) ; and his discussion of food- 
scruples in Romans (xiv, 1923) shows him ready to make large 
concessions to Jewish Christians even of the strictest school. 

The degree of authenticity that can be attributed to the speeches 
and epistles attributed to Peter in the New Testament is not such 
as to make it possible to call them in as further evidence for his 
views. But his conduct at Antioch, until called to order by 
James, makes it likely that it is to his recollection that we owe three 
passages in Mark : Jesus* defence of his disciples for failing to 
observe the Pharisaic fast days (Mk. ii, 1 8 sqq^) ; his condemnation 
of Pharisaic rigour in Sabbath observance (Mk. ii, 2 3 sqq. ; iii, i sqq^] ; 
his denunciation of ceremonial washings, of tricks for making 
void the word of God by scribal tradition, and the saying * making 
all meats clean 7 (Mk. vii, 123). At any rate, it must be insisted 
that the practical example of Peter, rather than that of James, is 
the more likely to reflect the spirit of the teaching of Christ. For 
Peter was the leader of those who actively followed him; James was 
the eldest of those brethren of Jesus who, during the period of his 
public preaching, not only did not believe in him, but were even 
disposed to accept the suggestion that his mind was unhinged 


(Mk. iii, 2 i). And if the position of Peter in regard to the Law was 
intermediate between those of Paul and James, it may well be that 
it was also intermediate in their conceptions of the religious 
relation between the believer and the Christ in Heaven. 

James is named by Paul as one of those persons to whom, as to 
Peter himself., was vouchsafed a Resurrection Appearance. This 
doubtless marks the moment of James' conversion. But, once he 
had joined a community which believed Jesus to be Messiah, 
James would naturally, as the eldest male of the Messianic house, 
become its titular head. That, no doubt, is why the three 'pillars' 
of the Church are mentioned by Paul in the order James, Peter, 
John (Gal. ii, 9); and why James settles down as the permanent 
head of the Church in the sacred city of Jerusalem. On the re- 
constitution of that Church after the desolation of A.D. 70, Symeon, 
a nephew of James, became its bishop; indeed, a kind of Caliphate, 
hereditary in the family of Jesus, would have been a development 
obvious and natural to the Jewish mind. But the Jewish War had 
more than decimated the Palestinian church; Jerusalem was again 
destroyed in 135, and after that no Jew might live there. Mean- 
while, Gentile Christianity had become empire-wide; and, largely 
owing to the genius of Paul, it had taken a form which could neither 
be understood in, nor directed from, a centre wholly alien to the 
culture of the great world. Nevertheless, even in the latter part 
of the second century there were still Christians who wished to 
ascribe to James a quasi-Papal authority 1 , 


Jerusalem, like Mecca to-day, was a pilgrimage centre to which, 
especially at the great feasts, came Jews from all parts of the known 
world. This was, at the start, a great asset to the Church. To the 
pilgrim, especially if he be a poor man and lives in a far country, 
a visit to the Holy City is an event for which he has been hoping 

1 In the Clementine Homilies Peter himself is represented as writing a 
letter beginning: * Peter to James, the lord and bishop of the holy Church, 
under the Father of all, through Jesus Christ.' In the same work Clement 
writes a letter announcing his appointment as the successor of Peter as 
Bishop of Rome, which begins: 'Clement to James, the lord, and the bishop 
of bishops, who rules Jerusalem, the holy Church of the Hebrews, and the 
Church everywhere excellently founded by the providence of God. 1 At the 
opposite extreme was Marcion's elevation of Paul. The Twelve had so 
misunderstood the teaching of Christ that it had to be revealed anew to Paul 5 
so that his epistles and the Gospel of his follower Luke drastically revised 
by Marcion constituted the sole authentic revelation of the Good God. 
See below, vol. xu. 


and saving for years; he arrives In a state of religious exaltation. 
The majority carried away by the contagious enthusiasm of multi- 
tudes would depart satisfied ; but there must have been many who 
felt strangely disappointed at the contrast between the ideal 
Jerusalem of their dreams and the Jerusalem of actual fact, with 
the crowd of swindling parasites which infests all pilgrim centres, 
its money-changers and sellers of beasts in the Temple courts and 
the crude details of a sacrificial ritual which the religious sense of 
the more ethically sensitive had already outgrown. In such a mood 
a pilgrim would be peculiarly receptive to the message of the 
Christian preacher. At many a Passover or Pentecost, a Jew or 
proselyte of the Dispersion will have caught the fire of the new 
religion, and returning to his distant home, become a centre for 
spreading the message. Often, no doubt, then as now, small parties 
of pilgrims from the same place travelled together; and sometimes 
such a group would have been converted as a whole, and so, at once 
on its return, there would be the nucleus of a local church. That 
perhaps is how it came about that already before the conversion of 
Paul there was a church as far afield as Damascus (Acts ix, 10). 
But the converts who thus became founders of churches had com- 
monly received very little instruction; and there was no New 
Testament, no Creed, no written manual of theology, no accepted 
liturgy, which they could take with them. It is not surprising, then, 
that a century after the Crucifixion we discover a great diversity 
among persons claiming the name Christian ; that is only what we 
should expect, -What demands explanation is rather the large 
measure of agreement that persisted within the main body the 
more so since by that time most of them were Gentiles converted 
from many and various types of paganism. 

The continued existence of a central party, able to resist the 
centrifugal tendency inherent in the conditions of the first century, 
was due in the main to the wide circulation of, and the authority 
ascribed to, certain writings: (i) the Old Testament, with it 
emphasis on the unity of God, and on the moral standard which 
God requires of man; (2) collections of sayings of Christ; of which, 
it would seem, the oldest and most widely known was the docu- 
ment Q embodied in the First and Third Gospels ; (3) the Gospel 
of Mark, whose wide circulation is proved by the fact that it formed 
the basis, not only of the canonical Gospels, but of the gnosticizing 
Gospel of Peter and perhaps of other Apocryphal Gospels; 
(4) certain epistles of Paul. Of these, I Corinthians seems to have 
been the most read, and to have got into general circulation before 
the rest, either alone or with Romans, and perhaps Ephesians. 

C.A*H. XI 1 8 


In the course of time the weight and effectiveness of these 
documents and therefore their influence on the Church as a 
co-ordinating factor was progressively enhanced by (i) the re- 
organization by Matthew and Luke of the biographical material 
of Mark along with the teaching preserved in Q and other docu- 
ments ; (2) the clarification of the relation of Christianity to the 
Old Testament by the elaboration of the argument from prophecy. 
This was worked out by Matthew, Luke Acts, and the epistle to 
the Hebrews in three different ways, which may respectively 
be named the mechanical, the historico-evolutionary, and the 
allegorical; (3) the increased impressiveness lent to the epistles 
of Paul by the fact of their being gathered into a single corpus, and 
then read against the background provided by the Acts, which 
gave definiteness to his personality and impressed upon the Church 
his immense services to the Christian mission. 
. But though this further body of literature was mainly produced 
between 8095, it did not at once become authoritative in all parts 
of the Church. Hardly earlier than 120 would it have secured a 
recognition sufficiently wide to make it a powerful centripetal force. 
Indeed the ascription to Matthew, Mark and Luke of a co-equal 
and quasi-canonical authority was quite possibly the outcome of 
a conference held in Rome as late as H9 1 . The Fourth Gospel, 
though probably written before A.D. 100, was slow in securing 
acceptance especially in Rome. But by 180 it had become 
possible with general consent to ascribe plenary inspiration to the 
Four Gospels, Acts, and a selection of epistles (which varied, but 
only slightly, from church to church) and in most churches the 
book of Revelation. Thus a New Testament came into being over 
against the Old, but organically related to it 2 . 

The canonization of the New Testament was a precondition of 
the development of the Catholic Church into a kind of inner world- 
-state within that of the Roman Empire; for the theoretical basis 
of its law, discipline and philosophy was belief in a Divine Revelation 
contained in the sacred books. It was therefore taken for granted 
that the theological views of the authors of these books must be 
Identical. That assumption is seen to be untenable once they are 
studied historically. It is, however, a little unfortunate that their 
individuality and variety is usually presented to the student under 

1 C B. H. Streeter, The Four Gospels y p. 525 sq. 

2 This canonization is of importance to the historian In another way. 
-It made the text sacred, and therefore saved it from being continually 
expanded or rewritten to meet the tastes of later generations as happened 
to the Apocryphal Gospels and Acts and to early Buddhist scriptures. 

VII, vi] THE DEMONS 275 

the title of 'New Testament Theology/ The questions which the 
historian will most desire to raise are psychological rather than 
doctrinal. Why did people wish to join the Church? What was It 
that made this new religion a source of comfort, power and in- 
spiration to those who turned to it? The answer is that different 
people were appealed to by different aspects. No less than seven 
main types of approach can be illustrated by the documents In- 
cluded In the New Testament; and, since the followers of any 
religious or political leader always include many who reproduce 
his views In a one-sided and exaggerated form, we may reasonably 
Infer that the characteristic features of each of these seven types 
were to be found In a far more accentuated form In different parts 
of the sub-apostolic Church. 

I. Even at the present day the majority of mankind Is per- 
petually haunted by dread of malignant spiritual powers. In India, 
China and Africa, a magician may put a spell with withering and 
devastating effects on a man's person, child or beast; a demon may 
possess his wife or daughter; or one of the innumerable gods may 
take offence at some neglect and punish it with misfortune or 
disease. The religion of the Old Testament, without any assistance 
from scientific knowledge or rationalistic philosophy, but by the 
sheer potency of religious and ethical insight, had broken the 
power of magic and witchcraft and, where possible, eliminated its 
professors ; it had affirmed a unity of God which made pointless the 
fear of any god but one; and, by making" His character predomi- 
nantly Righteousness, it had removed that kind of fear of the divine 
which necessarily results from belief in deities who are essentially 
non-moral. But the Gentile world outside highly educated 
circles was obsessed by the need of propitiating gods many and 
capricious, convinced that the destinies of the individual are con- 
trolled (often in a malign way) by the spiritual powers inherent in 
the planets, trembling before the astrologer and the magician, and 
familiar in daily life with cases of insanity or neurosis raised to an 
intenser pitch, and given a destructive and malicious direction, by 
the belief that the cause was the possession of the patient by an 
evil spirit. The early Christian was unable to counter these beliefs 
with weapons drawn from the armoury of science; he did so by 
maintaining that Christ, sitting on the right hand of God, yet 
permeating the personality of the believer as a re-invigorating and 
fortifying power, was ever waging a victorious war with all and 
every spiritual power of evil in the planetary spheres, in the 
middle air where demons roam, and in the cities and villages of 
earth. In Christ's power, therefore,, his follower could be sur& of 

1 8 2 


victory, whether his warfare was against * principalities and powers 
and malign spirits in exalted spheres/ against the spells of the local 
magician, or against wandering demons seeking an opportunity 
to enter his body and possess his mind. 

Demon-possession was common even in Palestine ; and contact 
with a personality like that of Jesus might well result in a cure in 
certain cases where a psycho-neurotic disorder was diagnosed as 
demon-possession. But what the historian has to explain is, not 
how Christ might have cured demoniacs, but the relatively large 
proportion of space given to such cures in the very brief account 
which Mark gives of his career antecedent to the last week at 
Jerusalem, The proportion is explained by the obsession of the 
Gentile world with the fear of evil spirits. A similar motive explains 
the recounting in Acts of cases where Apostles by sheer force of 
spiritual personality vanquish magicians 1 . So Paul himself refers 
more than once to 'signs and wonders,' t which Christ wrought 
through me, . .by the power of the Holy Spirit 72 . 

II. To many converts the essence of the 'good news* lay in the 
words * The Kingdom of God is at hand/ The present world-order 
is doomed, the Messianic age is about to dawn ; only in order to 
participate in that glorious age, the individual must repent. This 
message was a gospel of hope and deliverance, not merely to Jews 
- who resented the domination of the 'holy people' by pagan 
Rome but to the poor and oppressed, especially to slaves, in the 
Gentile world. Of the first Christians many, like the Communists 
of the present day, confidently expected themselves to live to see 
the mighty put down from their seats and the exaltation of the 
humble and meek only this would happen, not as the result of 
political insurrection, but through the direct act of God in the hour 
of Judgment. 

In Thessalonians the hope of an immediate return of Christ to 
end the present world-order is central even in the thought of Paul; 
in subsequent ^epistles, though never abandoned, it gradually 
recedes to the circumference of interest. The Lucan writings carry 
this process a stage further. Luke believes that Christ will return, 
but at a date which is vaguely postponed, 'until the times of the 
Gentiles be fulfilled (xxi, 24)'; and the belief scarcely affects the 
heart of his religion. In the Fourth Gospel the doctrine of the 
sending of the Spirit, the Comforter, is for all practical purposes 
substituted for the expectation of a visible Return. But pan fassu 

1 Acts, viii, 9-24; xiii, 6-1 1 5 xvi, 16-18. For a similar conflict between 
a Christian Sadhu and a Hindu magician, see C. F. Andrews, Sadhu Sundar 
Singh, p. 162 sq. 2 Rom. xv, 18-195 cfl II Cor, xii, 12. 


with this spiritualization of the Apocalyptic hope, there went on in 
other circles an intensification and a progressively concrete drama- 
tization of it. Matthew lays more stress on the Return than Mark, 
and adds picturesque details like the Last Trumpet; and Mark 
has more of this than Q 1 * But the book which consists of nothing 
else is the Revelation of John, one of the latest, and at the time most 
influential, in the New Testament. Few things more clearly 
illustrate the diversity in the early Church than the development 
side by side of tendencies so contrary to one another. 

III. Paul's religion has been described as a * Christo-centric 
mysticism'; that is, as one which seeks union, not like Greek or 
Indian mysticism, with the Absolute, but with the Divine Christ 
a heavenly spiritual Being who somehow mediates or represents 
God Himself, in a way which Paul seems to have felt small necessity 
to represent in philosophical terms. 

Paul shares with Jewish Christians the belief that the End Is at 
hand, and that Christ will shortly come to judge the world. It is 
the problem of repentance that he conceives differently. To many, 
perhaps to most, religious Jews the Law was not merely an object 
of veneration but a source of comfort. 'Lord, what love have I 
unto thy law; all the day long is my study in it/ Similarly, the 
author of the Imitatio Christi found inspiration in the theology and 
discipline of the Catholic cloister. But the Law was to Paul what 
* monkery * was to Luther; each felt that the system in which he 
had been bred had utterly failed him, and that the endeavour to 
achieve righteousness by the effort of the will is futile. But there 
had come to Paul, as later on to Luther, an experience inter- 
preted as a personal relationship to the living Christ so vivid as to 
be capable of description by the metaphor of * Christ born in me/ 
With this came a complete change in the orientation and inward 
quality of his whole personality which made the doing of the will 
of God no longer the grudging fulfilment of an external command, 
but the expression of an inward passion. Since, then, for Paul 
redemption is an inward change which turns what was once an 
irksome duty into a passionate desire, tfie Gospel is (from one 
point of view) essentially a state of mind which consists in freedom 
from the Law. The Law, though ordained of God for a good 
purpose, has now by the divine act been abrogated. Paul, 
theoretically at least, does not distinguish between the ceremonial 
and the moral law, or even between Jewish and Gentile ethic. All 
law, qua rule to be obeyed, has been abrogated. The converted man 
is so completely a new man that, if he does what he likes, h 
1 C Oxford Studies in the Synoptic Problems^ pp. 422 sqq . 


necessarily do that which is pleasing to God, for it is no longer he 
that acts but the spiritual Christ that dwells in^him. 

To express the attitude of the believer which results in this 
mystical union with Christ Paul uses the word * faith/ By it he does 
not mean intellectual acceptance of a creed or proposition, but 
loyalty, love and devotion something like what in Indian religion 
is known as bhakti. Like bhakti it is capable of being expressed in 
hymns of praise, Paul and Silas burst out into singing at midnight 
in the prison at Philippi (Acts xvi, 25) in the light of which 
incident we should read: 'Be filled with thanksgiving. Let the 
presence of Christ dwell in you, awell-springof abounding wisdom; 
teach and encourage one another with psalms, with hymns, and 
with songs of the spiritual life ; making music in your hearts in 
gratitude to God. Indeed, whatever you say and do, let all be 
resting on the Lord Jesus, and through him giving thanks to God 
the Father' (Col. iii, \$$qq^ free rendering). In the historic 
phrase, * Justification by Faith, 9 Paul unduly strains the ordinary 
connotation of the word 'faith* in the hope to make it cover the 
bhakti quality in the attitude to Christ described above as that 
of the Christo-centric mystic. 

But the idea of justification by faith was one likely to lead to 
practical difficulties when the doctrine expressed by it was taught 
to persons whose conversion had been less thorough than Paul's 
own. That, no doubt, is why in every epistle we find him piling up 
exhortations to practical morality. Nor was the precaution un- 
necessary. In the epistle of James not by the brother of the Lord 
but by a 'teacher,' perhaps originally anonymous (Jas. i, 2) there 
is an elaborate discussion of the faith of Abraham. This is evidently 
intended to rebut the inference drawn from Romans and no 
doubt acted upon by certain professing Christians, that, so long 
as you believe rightly, conduct does not matter. It is easy to see 
how certain schools of Gnostics could quote the authority of Paul 
for an antinomianism which justified grave immorality. Well might 
the second-century author of 1 1 Peter write of his epistles : * Wherein 
are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and 
unstedfast wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own 
destruction' (II Pet. iii, 16). 

Paul's teaching in regard to the Law, as developed in Galatians 
and Romans, might seem a gospel of deliverance to one brought 
up a Pharisee; it could have little meaning to the ordinary Gentile. 
At that time the Gentile world and the Jewish were suffering from 
opposite diseases. If the Jew had too much law, the Gentile had 
too little; for the old Ideal religions, and the moral sanctions 


associated with them, were collapsing in the cosmopolitan scep- 
ticism of the Graeco-Roman Empire. The task of the Church was 
to build up a new moral law; that is why 'Paulinism,' in the 
Lutheran sense, simply disappears from Christian teaching until 
something of it was revived by Augustine. The discourses in the 
Fourth Gospel constantly develop Pauline themes; but the main 
theme of Romans is compressed into a single sentence : ' For the 
law was given by Moses; grace and truth came by Jesus Christ* 
(John i, 1 7). What is far more remarkable, it has accorded to it 
only one sentence in all the speeches ascribed in the Acts to Paul 
himself: ' And by him every one that believeth is justified from all 
things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses* 
(Acts xiii, 39). For practical reasons it was essential for the Gentile 
churches to be rid of the burden of circumcision and the petty 
detail of the Law; it was valuable therefore to be able to point 
to an elaborate demonstration by a great Apostle of the ab- 
rogation of the Law. They canonized Romans, but did not 
understand it. 

The abrogation of the Law and the rebirth of the Christian into 
a new and freer life, liberated from the bondage of sin and from 
the inward struggle of a ' divided self/ is closely associated by Paul 
with the Death of Christ; but it is not easy to say exactly how. He 
produces no theological theory, but is content to use metaphors 
derived from the sacrificial system of the Old Testament. Hence 
the exact significance which he attached to the sacrificial quality 
in the Death of Christ has for centuries been a matter of controversy. 
Much of this controversy has been beside the mark through failure 
to realize that his approach to the subject was not, like that of 
Anselm and later Western theologians, primarily scholastic and 
legalistic; it was rather mystical and emotional. If a rationalistic 
account is to be given of it, this must be sought mainly on psycho- 
logical lines. It must be related to the specifically Hebrew con- 
sciousness of sin and guilt, and also to the emotional appeal made 
by the ancient Temple ritual to an orthodox Jew an appeal which 
the mind of the twentieth century finds it peculiarly hard to 
approach with sympathetic insight. For that reason it would seem 
that Paul's meaning is far better reflected in the popular preaching 
of a Wesley, or in the hymns of a Toplady, than in the language 
of the theologians. 

Paul was an educated, half-hellenized Jew like Philo, nurtured 
on the monotheism of the Old Testament. To retain that mono- 
theism he needed some kind of intellectualized concept of the 
relation to the One God of that Heavenly Christ, whoso claim to 


a devotion, absolute and religious in character, he gave his life to 
preaching; nor indeed could he, without some such conception, 
have answered the questions which the more intelligent Gentile 
converts would continually be asking. Such a concept Paul seems 
to have found in a combination of the apocalyptic picture of the 
pre-existent Son of Man, already found in Enoch, with an idea 
derived, directly or indirectly, from Philo. Philo interpreted the 
statement in Genesis that God 'made man in his own image 5 in 
the light of Plato's doctrine of archetypal patterns or * ideas.' God 
had created man after the eiKcHv or pattern which Plato would have 
named ISea rov ivQp^uov. Paul's allusion to Christ as being 'the 
man from heaven/ or 'in the form of God/ is thus a kind of hasty 
Platonization of that apocalyptic picture of the Son of Man, which 
could be taken quite literally by the less sophisticated Jewish 
Christian. The conception is one which asserts with emphasis the 
idea of the pre-existence of Christ. In Colossians i, 1517 it is 
given an expression far more elaborate than anything to be found 
In the earlier epistles, 'Who is the image of the invisible God, the 
firstborn of all creation ; for in him were all things created, in the 
heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, 
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers ; all things 
have been created through him, and unto him ; and he is before all 
things, and in him all things consist/ But even here the phrase 
*the firstborn of creation * shows that Paul had never faced the 
philosophical difficulties which forced the Nicene Church to define 
the pre-existence as eternal. 

The question what, if any, influence the 'mystery religions/ 
which were at that time spreading over the Roman world, may have 
had on the language and thought of Paul is too large to be discussed 
here. Probably Paul's own views were very slightly so influenced, 
those of his converts very considerably. How far, for example, was 
the meaning for him of the Lord's Supper influenced by analogies 
derived from similar rites in the mystery cults in which the par- 
taking of a sacred cake was held to be both a means to, and a 
guarantee of, immortality? Of this there is no hint in Paul; but 
by the time of Ignatius the idea has become naturalized in the 
Church. Ignatius speaks quite simply of 'breaking one bread, 
which is the medicine of immortality (<j6ap/zot/coz/ d^az/aa-tas) and 
the antidote that we should not die but live for ever in Jesus Christ* 
(Ephes* 20). 

IV, A ^distinctive type of religious emphasis is found in the 
Lucan writings.^ Luke goes further even than Paul in his pro- 
Gentile sympathies; for he does not understand the Jewish case* 


He Insists no less on the centrality of the life 'In the spirit* which 
issues in love, joy and peace which he takes for granted is only 
to be realized in and through the experience of fellowship found 
in the Christian brotherhood. Indeed, for him this fellowships 
with God and with man, which accompanies the indwelling of the 
Spirit, would seem to be the best part of the 'good news/ His 
Gospel is as notable as the Acts for the abundance of its references 
to the Spirit; and it would seem that in his version of the Lord's 
Prayer the words, * Thy Holy Spirit come upon us and cleanse us/ 
originally stood in place of, *Thy Kingdom come* (xi, 2) 1 . 

Luke is named by Dante scriba mansuetudinis ChristL He stresses 
the message of the graciousness and loving kindness of the Divine, 
which is the new and the characteristic element of that which Paul 
the Pharisee had learnt from Christ. Luke tones down the element 
of Pharisaic theology which survives in the predestinarian teaching 
of Romans, with its subordination of the 'fatherhood* to the 
* sovereignty * of God, and its sense of the need for some propitiatory 
sacrifice. It is often argued that the Acts could not have been written 
by a pupil of Paul; a pupil would have understood better *the 
Augustinian * strain in Paul, Alternatively it may be suggested 
that Augustine largely reared his system of theology on just that 
element in Paul which represents a survival in the Apostle's mind 
of a pre-Christian conception of God. A pupil may misunderstand 
his master; he may also outgrow him. 

At any rate, the Gospel most closely related to the standpoint 
of Paul is not that of Luke, but Mark. The church for which Mark 
wrote may have already possessed (in Q, or some other document) 
a summary of the ethical teaching of Christ; even so, it is still 
significant that Mark should make * the Gospel ' to consist, not in 
the teaching, but in the person of Christ, the wonder-working Son 
of God, and that he assigns what, from the purely biographical 
point of view, is such a disproportionate space to the story of the 
Passion, Moreover, on two occasions words of Christ are given 
which indicate that Mark, like Paul, saw a sacrificial meaning in 
his death. 'The Son of man came. . . to give his life a ransom for 
many* (x, 45). 'This is my blood of the covenant, which is shed 
for many' (xiv, 24), 

Without doubt Luke read these words in the copy of Mark from 
which he derived about half of the content of his own Gospel; why 
then does he leave them out ? The second of these sayings does 
occur in the ordinary text of Luke ; but the * Western * text, Westcott 

1 This reading can be traced back to A.IX 140; in most MSS. it has been 
'corrected* to conform with Matthew's version. Cf. Streeter, of. cif. p, 277. 


and Hort argue, is clearly right in omitting Luke xxii, 19 b 20, 
as an interpolation from I Corinthians. In the un-interpolated text 
of Luke, Christ gives the disciples the Cup before he gives them the 
Bread (thus reversing the order of Mark); while the sacrificial 
words * given for you' or 'shed for you 7 are omitted. That this is 
not an accident, but represents an alternative ritual tradition, is 
showii by the fact that in the Didache also the Cup and the Bread 
appear in the Lucan order, and the forms of thanksgiving pre- 
scribed do not associate the rite with the death of Christ 1 , 

Luke's view is made still clearer by the way in which the death 
of Christ is, so to speak, apologized for in the speeches attributed to 
Peter in the early chapters of Acts, In these speeches the death of 
Christ, so far from being of the essence of the Gospel, is represented 
as an unfortunate incident which has happily been cancelled 
indeed more than cancelled by the glorious miracle of the 
Resurrection, Theologians frequently explain this feature in the 
early speeches in Acts on the hypothesis, that, at the moment of 
speaking. Peter had not yet had time to reflect on the real meaning 
of the death of Christ. Such an explanation ignores the practice 
of ancient historians in regard to speeches, Peter's speeches were 
not taken down at the time by a shorthand writer; they were either 
composed by Luke himself (after the universal custom of ancient 
historians) or they were derived by him from a written source. But 
whoever first committed them to writing would have done so 
because he regarded them as representing Peter's mature views, 
The Acts was written to help the spread of what its author regarded 
as the actual truth about Christianity; the early Christians were 
interested, not in the mental development of individual Apostles, 
but in the Gospel which they taught. A speech attributed to an 
Apostle is meant to be read as a summary of apostolic doctrine. 

Again, the idea of the death of Christ as a sacrifice is curiously 
inconspicuous even in the speeches attributed to Paul in the Acts; 
it occurs once only, in a single phrase where he exhorts the 
Ephesian Elders *to feed the Church of the Lord, which he pur- 
chased with his own blood* (xx, 28). The Gospel and Acts were 
obviously intended to present the case for Christianity to the 
Gentile world. If Luke had himself felt this doctrine to be essential, 
he could not have represented the Apostolic preaching as so little 
concerned with it. And that a large section of the Church in the 
sub-apostolic Age did not regard this doctrine as essential, is 

1 The word 'sacrifice' is used in the Didache of the Eucharist in another 
context (xiv), but evidently in the sense of communion rather than of 


proved by the fact that It is entirely ignored by Ignatius of Antioch 
who may almost be called the 'father of orthodoxy/ 

Along with this from the Pauline standpoint inadequate 
interpretation of the death of Christ, Luke exhibits an equally 
elementary Christology, This is recognized by all the com- 
mentators so far as concerns the speeches attributed to Peter. But 
the Christology of the speeches attributed to Paul is no more 
advanced. Thus the speech to the Areopagus the most philo- 
sophical utterance attributed to Paul ends with the proclamation 
of a final judgment * by the man whom he hath ordained ' (Acts xvii, 
31). Luke was not a theologian; but, unless his general thought 
of Christ had approximated to what later ages would have con- 
demned as * adoptionist ' it is hard to explain why, in a set of speeches 
presumably intended to be representative of apostolic doctrine, 
the pre-existence of Christ is never even hinted at. 

V. The epistles of Paul give not so much theology, as the raw 
materials out of which the theology of the Church was gradually 
developed. Christian theology, in the sense of an attempt to state 
systematically and in due proportion the intellectual content of 
religion, begins with the epistle to the Hebrews ; only it is theology 
lifted to the level of religious adoration, as in the Confessions of 
Augustine. The author addresses himself at once to what was the 
main problem for a thoughtful Christian. The Church accepted 
as axiomatic both monotheism and the belief that the Old Testa- 
ment was an inspired revelation ; but it offered to Christ a loyalty 
and adoration which amounted to religious * worship, "and (by the 
force of circumstances and under the leadership of Paul) had 
become in the main a Gentile community, which could not observe 
the Law of Moses (the most sacred part of the inspired revelation) 
and had no desire to do so. 

The author of Hebrews adopts, but in a more precise and clearly 
thought-out form, the Pauline identification of the pre-existent 
Christ with the Philonic conception of a divine emanation through 
whom the primaeval God created the Universe: 'his Son, whom 
he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the 
worlds ; who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image 
of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power * 
(Heb. i, 2 sq^). The problem of 'the obligation of the Law he solves, 
in a way totally different from that of Paul, by the use of the method 
of allegorical interpretation a method equally familiar to the 
Greek and to the Jew and one which in that age enjoyed high 
intellectual repute. 

But his most original contribution to theological thinking 


derives from the fact that, once an attempt is being made to get rid 
of the binding obligation of the Law of Moses by calling it an 
allegory., it becomes clear that the most conspicuous feature in that 
Law is the elaborate sacrificial system of the Levitical Code. When 
Paul discusses the Law, he is thinking of it subjectively^ as a set of 
rules which the individual is asked to obey; the author of Hebrews 
is compelled by his method to view it objectively ', and must therefore 
address his interpretation in the first place to the imposing system 
of sacrifices of which the Temple at Jerusalem was the centre. He 
probably wrote after the Temple had been destroyed by the 
Romans ; but the books of Moses still remained. The destruction, 
however, of the material Temple only made the more plausible his 
argument that its impermanence was of the essence of the divine 
intention. The death of Christ was the real and eternally valid 
sacrifice; the offering of the blood of bulls and goats had always 
been, as it were, a shadow in the world of seeming of a reality of 
which the death of Christ revealed the substance. Look below the 
surface to catch the author's meaning, and it appears that in the 
last resort the significance of the death of Christ for him resides, 
not in the physical shedding of blood, but in the complete surrender 
of self to the divine will: * Then said I, Io 5 1 am come. . . to do Thy 
will, O God' (Heb. x, 4-9). 

Actually this way of looking at it is a refinement upou, one might 
even say a spiritualization of, the view of Paul, at any rate as that 
view is expressed in some passages* Nevertheless, later theology 
has been more influenced by the abundance of Jewish sacrificial 
imagery in the epistle than by the real thought of the writer. Its 
sum total effect has been to exaggerate the primitive Hebraic 
elements which survive in the language, if not also in the thought, 
of the New Testament in regard to the propitiatory character of 
the death of Christ. 

A further point should be noted. Though the author goes 
further than Paul in his systematic identification of Christ with an 
eternal creative principle primaevally emanating from the Father, 
he emphasizes more than any other writer in the New Testament, 
more even than Luke, the reality of the human nature of Christ, 
who was 'made like unto us in all things, sin only excepted'; and 
whom God did not bring to the full maturity of his moral personality 
except through the experience of suffering (Sta Tradrj^dTcav 
reAet<Sa-at, Heb. ii, 10). Strange as it may appear to a modern 
mind the reality of Christ's humanity and of his suffering was flatly 
denied by many Christians. Such teaching is already glanced at 
in I John; and this 'docetism* is one of the most formidable of the 


heresies which Ignatius is concerned to refute. 'He suffered truly, 
as also he raised himself truly; not as certain unbelievers say, that 
He suffered in semblance* (Smyrn* 2). 

VL In the prologue of the Fourth Gospel the problem of com- 
bining monotheism with belief in the divine nature of Christ is 
solved by the doctrine of an eternally existing Logos who was in 
him made flesh 1 . On this foundation was built the theology of the 
developed Catholic Church. It has been noted that the prologue 
reads like a hymn it is written in the rhythmical prose used in 
hymns of the period and that the same thing holds of Philippians 
ii, 6 ii 2 . It is, perhaps, not accidental that the two passages in 
Paul and John which come nearest to being a theology of the 
Person of Christ have this almost lyric ring. Thomas Arnold said 
that the Creed should not be recited but sung as a hymn of praise; 
and, in the New Testament, theology is never found save as the 
impassioned expression of religion. John, a Christo-centric mystic 
of high intellectual power, had need of a thought-out religion ; he 
knew that others had the same need ; and there is more concentrated 
thought in the few verses of his prologue than in many whole 
treatises. But to John theology is the gateway to a temple; inside 
the temple is religion the religion which in the rest of his Gospel 
he strives to unfold and which it is not the purpose of this chapter 
to obscure under the pretext of expounding it. The point of the 
Gospel will be missed by a reader who approaches it primarily as 
a historical authority. It should be read as a book of devotion, as 
one would the Imitatio Christi\ and the writer's attitude of mystic 
adoration may at times be better apprehended by a change of pro- 
nouns in the great discourses ascribed to Christ : * Thou art the vine, 
we are the branches* ; or c Thou art the Resurrection and the Life/ 

VII. The Fourth Gospel marks the end of the great age of 
Christianity; it is by the last of the giants in the greatest religious 
revival in the history of man. To turn from this Gospel to the 
Epistle of Jude is to feel a big drop, spiritually and intellectually* 
This Epistle reads as if it were a * charge * sent out by the bishop 
of an important church, possibly Judas (son) of James, who, 
according to the Apostolic Constitutions^ succeeded Symeon (mar- 
tyred under Trajan) as the third bishop of Jerusalem 3 . The writer> 

1 John's distinction between God and c the Word * who from the be- 
ginning was 'with God* is comparable to that which a modern philosopher 
might draw between the Transcendence and the Immanence of the Divine, 

2 C A. B. Macdonald, Christian Worship in the Primitive Church, 
p. 119^. 

3 See B. H, Streeter, The Primitive Church, pp, 178 sqq. 


one feels, is a good old man profoundly shocked by the appearance 
within the Church of the teaching of an immoralism, which claims 
to be an expression of superior enlightenment seemingly by 
Gnostics who held a docetic view of Christ. His remedy (apart 
from mere denunciation) is to encourage old-fashioned goodness 
by recalling the Church to 'the words which have been spoken 
before by the Apostles' (<u, 17). Above all he exhorts 'to contend 
earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the 
saints.' These words might almost be called the 'slogan' of the 
central section of the Church during the next hundred years. In 
them the writer of this, otherwise rather commonplace, little note 
defined what shortly came to be the accepted policy of the Church 
throughout the second century. Doubtless that is why his was one 
of the first of the epistles other than Paul's to be almost everywhere 
accepted into the Canon. For Jude was right. In the first century 
the main task for a community limited by its Palestinian origins 
was liberation, moral and intellectual; in the second century it was 
consolidation and defence. The Church might no longer create, 
it could still conserve. 

Among the major influences which have conditioned the 
political history of Europe has been the hierarchical organization 
of the Catholic Church. It was largely the political power potential 
in an empire-wide organization that made Decius its persecutor 
and Constantine its patron ; it was this which turned the Germanic 
princedom of Charlemagne into a Holy Roman Empire. The 
origin, therefore, of the Christian ministry is not without interest 
to the secular historian. But its discussion raises questions of a 
highly controversial character; for it is a matter in regard to which 
the different denominations of Christendom inherit very diverse 
official theories. These theories it would be inappropriate here 
either to expound or to criticize; it will suffice to outline evidence 
for the view 1 that in church order, as in other matters, there was 
in the first century considerable diversity, and that even in the 
New Testament itself a notable evolution can be discerned. 

A small community can preserve its cohesion with very little 
formal organization; not so one that has branches in every im- 
portant city in a vast empire. In this respect the Christian Church 
started with one great asset. It did not have to begin, like a League 
of Nations or an International Labour movement, by finding some 
basis of union for linking together societies which already had an 
1 For the evidence in detail 4 see Streeter, op. ctt. 


Independent existence. The Church conceived of itself, not as a 
new body, but as the ancient * people of God' ; the inheritors of the 
promises given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The modern his- 
torian may describe the Church as an * offshoot of Judaism/; the 
early Christians took the contrary view. They were the true Israel, 
the "remnant" who alone the prophets had foretold it would 
Inherit the promises. Various prophecies of the Messianic age had 
spoken of Gentiles being gathered Into this remnant; and Paul 
was gravely perplexed by the small proportion of born Jews along- 
side the relatively large number of Gentiles who had so far (c. A.D. 
56) accepted Christ (Rom. xi, 257). Because, then, every con- 
gregation took It for granted that it was merely the local representa- 
tive of the *holy nation, * the one people of God, organization was 
not at first required either as a means to unity or as a symbol of it. 
Its necessity was first made obvious by the difficulty of coping with 
"false prophets' who taught, as a word from the Lord, gnosticlzing 
doctrine or loose morality. 

Paul's advice to the Corinthians as to the use of spiritual gifts 
shows that the claim to spirit-possession by certain of the more 
egoistic or hysterical members of the community had already 
become a source of embarrassment when it took the form of 
4 speaking with tongues/ But prophesying in the congregation he 
strongly commends ; and he speaks as if the gift of prophecy was 
so common that several prophets might easily be present at any 
ordinary meeting of the community (I Cor. xiv, 2933, 3940). 
A generation later, however, it was no longer speaking with 
tongues, but prophecy itself, which caused embarrassment. 
A prophet spoke 'in the spirit/ and therefore with divine authority; 
but what if he were a false prophet ? Everywhere there arose the 
problem of discriminating between the true prophet and the false. 
From Asia we have the warning : * Beloved, believe not every spirit, 
but prove the spirits, whether they are of God : because many false 
prophets are gone out into the world* (I John iv, r). In Rome, 
Hermas (Mand. xi) has a whole section on the difficulty of dis- 
tinguishing true and false prophets. While from Syria, in the 
Didacke, come the most elaborate advices on this problem 
a problem the more difficult because of the high peril involved in 
making a mistake (Did. xi, 7). The editor of Matthew (c A.D. 90), 
in a passage clearly derived from Mark, inserts the words : * Many 
false prophets shall arise, and lead many astray. And because 
antinomianism (OLVO^ICL) shall be multiplied, the love of the many 
shall wax cold' (Mt. xxiv, 1 i sg.). This addition implies that among 
these self-styled prophets were preachers of religious a-mqrallsm. 


That some of these antlnomians claimed the authority of Paul 
we have already Inferred from the protests In James (II, 14-21) 
and II Peter (Hi, 15-1 6)* Prophets seem to have been very largely 
Itinerants. This fact made the false prophet whether heretic, 
crank or mere impostor the more formidable, in a society which 
believed in supernatural gifts; for to find out a pretender usually 
takes time. To protect themselves against false prophets the 
churches had to strengthen the hands of trusted local leaders. 

The Church of Jerusalem, we have seen, had from the first a 
single head in the person of James the brother of the Lord. 
Presbyters are also mentioned; and it is probable, though the Acts 
does not explicitly say so, that the title * deacon ' was applied to 
the Seven who were appointed, primarily, *to serve (Sta/coz/et^) 
tables* (Acts vi, i $qq?)* ^ u * : circumstances in Jerusalem, were 
exceptional. At any rate, the oldest theory of the Christian ministry 
of which we have evidence is : 'And God hath set some in the church, 
first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, 
then gifts of healings, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues' 
(I Cor. xii, 2 8). Comparing this with the actual situation at Antioch 
(Acts xiii, 13), it would seem that in an ordinary Gentile Church, 
the most important persons (in the absence of an apostle) were 
named Prophets and Teachers. The mention, however, of 'helps 1 
and 'governments,' combined with a reference elsewhere to the 

* ministry* (8iaKovia) and *he who presides' (6 Trpotcrrafte^os) 
(Rom. xii, 68), suggests the existence of other officers. At any 
rate when, a little later, Paul writes to the Philippians, he names 
in his opening salutation the 'Bishops' (in the plural) and the 
Deacons (PhIL i, i)* Ephesians, if not authentic, is a very early 
re-writing and elaboration of Colossians; it represents a further 
advance* 'And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; 
and some, evangelists; and some, shepherds and teachers' (Eph. 
iv, n). As at Corinth, Apostles 1 and Prophets still come first; 
but it Is notable that* Shepherd' (translated 'Pastor' in both English 
versions) has become a title of office, and the Shepherds are 
mentioned before the Teachers; and in the Old Testament the word 

* shepherd' is used as a standing description of * the rulers of Israel/ 

In the Acts there is frequent mention of Presbyters. In Jeru- 
salem (Acts xxi, 1 8) these form a kind of concilium to James. The 

1 The title Apostle (= delegate) is in the New Testament (and ap- 
parently also in the Didache) applied far more widely than in later usage j 
thus two otherwise unknown persons Andronicus and Junias were * of note' 
among those who bore the title (Rom. xvi, 7), 'Evangelist' is the name given 
to Philip (Acts xxi, 8) and to Timothy (II Tim. iv, 5), 


leaders of the Church of Ephesus are described as Presbyters 
(TTpecrfivTzpoC) but are addressed by Paul as * Bishops' (Irricr KOTTOL) 
and their functions are those of shepherds, whose business is 'to 
feed the flock 7 (Acts xx, 28). As in Philippians, it is evident that 
a number of persons in this church bore the title 'Bishop.' So also 
in I Peter (v, 12) Presbyters are exhorted to fulfil the office of 
Bishop (eVtor/coTToSz/res) with zeal. This state of things still sur- 
vived at Corinth, and at Rome, when I Clement was written in 96 ; 
and it lasted at Philippi till the time (c. 115) when Polycarp wrote 
to that Church. 

The evidence of the Didache is very little affected by the answer 
given to the vexed question of its date 1 . For, if it does not emanate 
from some important church c. 100, it represents a survival in 
some out-of-the-way district of conditions which elsewhere had 
passed away. Its interest is that, whatever its date or provenance, 
it reflects a system which is in a state of incipient breakdown. It 
gives elaborate instructions as to the reception of 'Apostles* and 
Prophets. These are to be 'received as the Lord'; but tests 
(implying that the problem is acute) are suggested how to deter- 
mine whether such an one is a true Prophet or a false. For example, 
he is proved to be a false Prophet if he desires hospitality for more 
than two days, if on departure he asks for money, or if, 'when he 
ordereth a table in the Spirit, he shall eat of it.' But there follows 
a regulation which would enable true Prophets to become, in effect, 
resident ministers, and to receive for their support the first fruits, 
'for they are your chief-priests' (Did. 13). The plain intention of 
another injunction is to raise the status of the Bishops and Deacons : 
'Appoint for yourselves therefore bishops and deacons worthy 
of the Lord, men who are meek and not lovers of money, and true 
and approved; for unto you they also perform the service of the 
prophets and teachers. Therefore despise them not; for they are 
your honourable men along with the prophets and teachers * (Did. 
1 5). Evidently in the general regard, the offices of Bishop and 
Deacon are less esteemed than those of Prophet or Teacher; but 
it is, the writer insists, an honourable office, and therefore it is 
important that only men of high character should be appointed 
to it. 

We have here a system like that implied in I Corinthians and 
in Acts xiii, 13 but in a state of breakdown . The order 'of pre- 
cedence is still * first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers ' ; 

1 The arguments that the Didache quotes both Barnabas and Hennas, 
though reasonable, are answerable; but the contention that it is a piece of 
pseudo-antiquarianism is fanciful. 

C.A.H. XT 


and the title 'apostle* has Its older and wider connotation. But the 
prescription of set forms of thanksgiving, with a rubric allowing 
Prophets liturgical freedom, implies that the presence of a Prophet 
was by no means a matter of course. The gift of prophecy is evi- 
dently much rarer than when Paul wrote to the Corinthians; and 
the services once performed by Prophets and Teachers are now 
commonly supplied by the Bishops and Deacons. 

The historical situation implied by the Didache is perfectly clear. 
The stream of prophecy, characteristic of the first age, is beginning 
to dry up in extent and to become muddied in quality. The leader- 
ship in worship and in instruction is beginning to pass into the 
hands of the Bishops and Deacons of the local churches. But these 
changes are only beginning; the old system is proving inadequate, 
the new has not yet developed. 

The breakdown of the earlier system, or rather lack of system, 
was doubtless one main cause of the development of the monarchical 
episcopate. There is small gain in devising * tests * for false prophets 
unless someone is made responsible for applying them. Evidence 
for the existence in Asia, in fact, if not also in name, of a bishop 
with monarchical powers is found in III John. The exact position 
held by the writer of the letter, who calls himself *The Elder/ is 
obscure; but it is clear that the Diotrephes mentioned is not merely 
one who c loveth to have the pre-eminence' in the church to which 
the letter is addressed; he is a person who has actually secured it. 
He has the power to decline to receive in the church brethren 
recommended by outsiders like the writer of the letter, and also to 
' cast out of the church ' members who differ from him ; that is, 
he has the right of excommunication. 

The evidence of the epistles to Timothy and Titus, curiously 
enough, points in opposite directions according as they are regarded 
as authentically Pauline or not. If authentic, we must say 1 that 
here also the terms 'bishop' and * presbyter' are interchangeable. 
If, however, they are, in the main, pseudonymous writings pro- 
duced somewhere in Asia c. 105-1 10, they afford evidence of the 
existence at that date of the monarchical episcopate. For, in that 
case, the advice given to Timothy and Titus must be read as advice 
which their actual author would like to see taken by contemporaries 
of his own who exercise functions in the church comparable to 
those once exercised by Timothy and Titus as delegates of the 
Apostle. Timothy and Titus are represented as in supreme com- 
mand, and are Instructed by the Apostle how to use their power; 
there would have been small point in inventing such instructions 
1 With Lightfoot (Philippians, p. 97). 


for the benefit of church, officers who, however well-meaning, had 
not the power to carry them out. The latest In date of these letters 
is I Timothy; and this unlike II Timothy and Titus does not seem 
to incorporate any genuine Pauline notes. But just because it is 
entirely the work of the editor, it is a document of great interest 
to the historian, as being a contemporary description (slightly 
idealized) of what we might call * parish activities and organization * 
about A.D. no. Ignatius, when at home in Antioch, would have 
occupied himself very much as Timothy is here enjoined to do. 

In the letters of Ignatius (c. A.r>. 115) we find the single Bishop, 
clearly distinguished under that name, a board of Presbyters and 
a group of Deacons. His letters also show that this system pre- 
vailed, not only in his own church of Antioch, but in the churches 
of Asia Minor to which he writes. The main purpose of Ignatius 
in writing is to exalt the office of these ministers especially the 
Bishop. The language he uses is hyperbolic: 'The bishop as being 
a type of the Father and the presbyters as the council of God and 
as the college of the Apostles. Apart from these a church does not 
deserve to be called a church' (TralL m, i). * Wheresoever the 
bishop shall appear, there let the people be; even as where Jesus 
may be, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful apart from 
the bishop either to baptize or to hold a love feast; but whatsoever 
he shall approve, this is well pleasing also to God. . . , It is good to 
recognize God and the bishop. He that honoureth the bishop is 
honoured of God; he that doth aught without the knowledge of 
the bishop rendereth service to the devil* (Smyrn* vm, 2 ix, i) 

We naturally ask what was the situation at Rome at this date ; 
for Ignatius* letter to that church does not give the title of any 
church officer. Twenty years earlier, as appears from Clement, 
there had been at Rome (and Corinth) a plurality of officers spoken 
of alternatively as bishops or presbyters, and an order of deacons. 
Clement emphasizes the duty of obedience to these as to persons 
in a succession deriving from the Apostles. This "apostolic suc- 
cession,* however, is not through a line of monarchical bishops, 
but is that of a corporate body; and appointment is subject to 
the consent of the laity (Clem, xlii, 14; xliv, 23). 

Hegesippus, before A.D. 166, drew up a list of the Bishops 
of Rome, whom he traces back to Linus, appointed by Peter and 
Paul; that list should be good evidence for at least the previous 
fifty years. Dates, which for the later names are reasonably trust- 
worthy, can be calculated from the terms of office of each pope 
given in two Latin lists apparently derived from the Chronica of 
Hippolytus. Xystus (c. 115125), whose name stands sixth, is 


mentioned In a letter of Irenaeus 1 as the first of a succession of popes 
whose policy (in regard to Asian Christians) he reproaches Victor 
with having reversed. In Hermas, however, the rulers of the 
church in Rome are always spoken of in the plural as * presbyters/ 
'rulers/ 'shepherds' in a way which definitely excludes a 
monarchical bishop ; though there may have been something like 
a chairman of the ruling elders. But if, rejecting the date assigned 
to Hermas in the Muratorianum, we accept his own statement that 
he began writing in the lifetime of Clement (c. A.D. 98), we may 
reasonably suppose that by A.D. 115 this chairmanship had become 
in practice a kind of * managing directorship/ 

The further transition to monarchical episcopate may well have 
taken place under Xystus, and that as a direct result of the influence 
of Ignatius himself, whose martyrdom In the Colosseum must 
have nearly synchronized with the accession of Xystus. In every 
letter (save that to Rome) Ignatius' farewell message to the 
churches is the duty of obedience to the Bishop. But Ignatius was 
not only a martyr, he was also a prophet; and, under seizure by the 
Spirit, he inculcated this same duty : * I cried out when I was among 
you; I spoke with a loud voice, with God's own voice, Give ye heed 
to the bishop and the presbytery and the deacons. . . He in whom 
I am bound is my witness that I learned it not from the flesh of 
man ; it was the preaching of the Spirit who spake in this wise ; 
Do nothing without the bishop* (Philad. vn, i). It is unthinkable 
that such a man would have failed to give that same message in 
Rome. And suppose, just before he was cast to the beasts, the 
Spirit put into his mouth an utterance like that just quoted the 
church would have given heed. 

Accepting the view (p. 2,63) that the larger part of Polycarp's 
epistle belongs to its writer's later years, Ignatius is the last im- 
portant figure in the period with which this chapter deals 2 . But he 
should be regarded, less as the last representative of the primitive 
period of Christianity, than as the pioneer of the next age. Ignatius 
is the first great ecclesiastic. It is due to him to add that the 
authority which he desiderated for the ministry was not claimed 
from love of power for its own sake, or of organization for its own 
sake. He fought for what seemed to him vital to unity in the 
Church and the protection of the flock from heresy. Nor is he 
merely concerned with 'sound doctrine'; he has the pastor's 

1 ap. Eusebius, Hist. EccL v, 24, 14, 

2 The Pionian life of Polycarp makes him a disciple, not of the Apostle 
John (as Irenaeus supposed), but of Bucolus, an obscure bishop of Smyrna. ' 
For reasons for supposing this to be correct, see Streeter, op, cit* pp. 265 sqq. 


Instinct. The heretics whom he denounces 'have no care for love, 
none for the widow, none for the orphan, none for the afflicted, 
none for the hungry or thirsty' (Smyrn. vi, 2). His letter to Poly- 
carp, a fellow-bishop, shows the ' paternal ' character of his ideal 
equally kindly and authoritarian : *Let not widows be neglected. 
After the Lord, be thou their protector. Let nothing be done 
without thy consent; neither do thou anything without the consent 
of God, as indeed thou doest not. Be steadfast. Let church services 
be held more frequently. Seek out all men by name. Despise not 
slaves, whether men or women. Yet let not these again be puffed 
up, but let them serve the more faithfully to the glory of God, that 
they may obtain a better freedom from God' (Polycarp, 4). 

Neither the details of the heresies, Gnostic or Jewish, which 
Ignatius opposes, nor the theological conceptions with which he 
does so, need detain us. But it is of interest to note that the weapons 
which he uses include, not only the Old Testament, but the begin- 
nings of the New. The Gospel of Matthew and a collection of 
Epistles of Paul are already for him more than merely Christian 
classics; they are an authoritative vehicle of the doctrine of the 
Apostles. Ignatius is clear-sightedly adopting the principle laid 
down by Jude, and * contending earnestly for the faith once 
delivered to the saints/ 

Interpenetration of religions was the fashion of the times ; and 
without some further definition (which in practice means stan- 
dardization) of doctrine, so much from the general welter of Graeco- 
Oriental religion would have filtered into Christianity that it would 
have lost its distinctive features not by attack from outside, but 
by assimilation from within. A line had to be drawn somewhere; 
some principle of exclusion was required. The Gnostics, as their 
name implies, were (or at least they supposed themselves to be) 
intellectuals; and it was ostensibly as an intellectual issue though 
one involving grave moral consequences that the battle had to be 
fought. That is why the ' faith,* which the main body of the Church 
was concerned to defend, came to be thought of primarily as 
* orthodoxy'; that is, as assent to correct opinion in regard to 
doctrines stated in intellectual terms. History has demonstrated 
the unfortunate results of the selection of this as the main principle 
of exclusion. But at that time no other was to hand. 

Ignatius is the father of those who champion orthodoxy. For 
his times though not for all time he was in the line of next 
advance. He was the first ecclesiastic; but, strange as that may 
appear to some, his age had need for such. 



year A.B. 117 marks an epoch In the history of the 
Mediterranean world. For in this year the Roman Empire, 
in which that world was politically unified, had reached its highest 
point of development after ages of continuous growth. From 
eastern Armenia to western Morocco, from northern Britain 
to southern Egypt, and to the borders of the Sahara and the 
Arabian desert, Rome and its Emperor ruled lands and seas. 
Only a short time before, Roman troops had beaten the might of 
Parthia from the field and had reached the Persian Gulf; and 
their victorious Imperator, Trajan, had dreamed of repeating 
Alexander's march to India, only to acquiesce in giving up the 
project on account of his age 1 . Deserts guarded almost all the 
southern borders; the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean were alive 
with Roman ships; the Northern frontier, in Britain, and from 
the North Sea to the northern shore of the Black Sea, was every- 
where strengthened and secured; beyond that line there no longer 
was an empire of 'barbarians' from which danger could suddenly 
threaten, while behind that line the armies everywhere stood 
ready to attack. It is true that in the previous year, after the 
victorious inarch through Mesopotamia, serious setbacks had 
followed, and the rising of the Jews and Mesopotamians might 
well cause grave anxiety. But energetic advances and the final 
overthrow of the rebels had established the security of Syria and 
Asia Minor and the lasting safety of the whole Empire against 
attacks from the only great Power that lay outside the area of 
Roman sovereignty; and within this world Rome stands without 
a rival, while at the same time wide stretches of fresh territory 
had been won for the Empire. 

The task of creating security also in this area, which had been 
easily acquired and long maintained by Alexander and the 
Seleucids, and of opening it up to Rome's authority, was of the 
widest range and of the highest importance : if it were successfully 
achieved, the idea of the world empire, the orbis Romanus^ 
would seem to become a reality, the peace, the pax Romany which 

1 See above* p. 247. 


Rome could give to the civilized humanity of this world together 
with its laws and customs would be made permanent: Rome's sway 
over the world would be assured for ever. But if now in the 
primeval East, with its apparently alien and indissoluble culture, 
there were added to the Empire even more areas of continuous 
inland territory than had been gained along all frontiers since 
Caesar's and Augustus* days, these masses of inland territory 
might well outweigh the narrow coastal lands of the Mediterra- 
nean, The work of opening up, organizing and administering 
this region might well take up too much of the energies of the 
Roman-Italic ruling class of the Empire, which, even without 
this burden, was already far too few for the task* The body 
of provincial citizens, who possessed inferior rights, might be 
menacingly reinforced, as the old coastal empire of the Romans 
thus threatened to turn definitively into a continental Empire. 

Almost up to the time when Trajan died (August, A.D. 117), 
calm and security reigned within the mighty Empire: fullness 
of achievement, glory of unequalled power still characterized his 
regime. But would succeeding emperors also be able to make 
good for Rome, once the true centre of the great amphitheatre 
of the Mediterranean nation and still its heart, its stubborn claim 
to be for ever mistress of the world, and to enable Italy to be the 
bearer of sovereignty and sharer in its profits ? Or must they give 
place to natives of the provinces grown strong in the pax Romany 
who will no longer stand as spectators, but will press for equality 
of rights with their masters ? The Empire, not threatened from 
without, secure in itself, self-sufficient, can unfold its gigantic 
possibilities even to excess, can radiate its power even into scarce- 
known distances, if only centralization in Rome does not grow 
too rigid. But what if the outside world nevertheless attacks the 
Empire? Will it produce rulers who can meet the attack with 
decisive strength? These rulers must do more than talk of unity 
and peace within the Empire, of justice, mildness and considera- 
tion, of patience and calm, prosperity, happiness and security; 
they must make these things real, must exert themselves every- 
where in the Empire in person, joyously and unrestingly, to 
awake life, to resolve oppositions, to preserve the balance of forces 
in healthy tension and good order; all this with the general pur- 
pose of securing that status felidssimus^ that status oftimus tivitatis 
of which Augustus would have had himself named the creator 
(Vol. x, p. 593). 

Everywhere an unexampled multipliCx V 
soil and climate, so of the countless peoples, of their economic 


arrangements and social organization, of their languages and 
intellectual capabilities, of their tradition and present mental 
attitude. Now came the question, whether the creative power of 
Trajan's successors would be able to make prevail the Roman will, 
Roman discipline, the Greek view of life and construction put 
upon the world, long ago taken over by Rome and adapted to 
Roman purposes, in order by these means to con vert the inhabitants 
of the Empire into Romans to the very depths of their being, and 
so to make the Empire grow into a complete whole, a true com- 
munity of lives. Or will the attempts to form the new unity of 
a Mediterranean people out of a multiplicity of heterogeneous 
elements have only this result that those who were once con- 
quered and are now peacefully assimilated, educating themselves 
by the Graeco-Roman ideal and allowing themselves, in outward 
form, to be reduced to one level, actually develop and steel their 
own powers, in order to become victors even over the inner 
world of the rulers-? If the rulers continue Trajan's tolerant 
regime, there is serious danger that the genius populi Romani may 
be transformed into something essentially foreign. The, period 
which has been praised since Aelius Aristides 1 as the happiest in 
Mediterranean history is a century of external brilliance but 
full of grievous tragedy, a period of transition to a new world- 
order. One only of the rulers, Hadrian, recognized his task and 
strove for a great accomplishment; he failed, despite all the 
endeavours which he made even beyond the measure of his 
powers. His successors, more passive natures, did not possess his 
powers, did not reach the heights of his achievement, and the last 
of them pursued new aims. Seen from the point of view of older 
tradition, it is an uninterrupted sinking into the depths^ a breach, 
the rise of something new; the power of the individual ruler can 
no longer effectively resist that inevitable and logical movement 
of forces. 

The traditions concerning the five successors of Trajan are 
of quite different sorts and unequal in their value, but rich enough 
to let us describe these figures, indeed to penetrate deeply into 
the essential nature of almost all of them. It is true that one cannot 
so certainly succeed in determining their personal effect in the 
State, their share in the fate of the Empire, If the restless wan- 
dering and creative activity of Hadrian (A.JO. 117138) can be 
followed in all the provinces of the Empire, what Antoninus 
Pius (A.D. 1381 6 1) did for that Empire is more difficult to grasp, 
since he never left Rome and Italy. The personality of Marcus 
Aurelius (161 I 80) and his struggle with the enemy in the North 
1 Or. xxvi K, see below, pp. 316, 333 


and with all the bitter stress at home are revealed by a multitude 
of most valuable pieces of evidence 3 among which his own Medi- 
tations 1 ^ the Marcus-column in Rome, and the Roman Empire 
coins are conspicuous. On the other hand, his adopted brother, 
Lucius Verus (161169)5 can hardly be discerned in the darkness 
which enfolds him: but Marcus* own son, Marcus Aurelius 
Commodus (who bore the title Augustus from 177 and was sole 
ruler from A.D. 180 until 192) appears in a strong light; yet 
because that light is indeed all too strong, he also sets us riddles 
enough to solve. 


P. Aelius Hadrianus (born on January 245 76) sprang from 
a family which had emigrated in the time of the Scipios from 
Hadria in Picenum to southern Spain and was established in 
Italica (near Seville). This family had acquired a mixture of 
Iberian blood, but, like the Ulpii Traiani 3 who had likewise 
made themselves a home there, had loyally preserved the memory 
of their Italic origin. An Aelius, from whom Hadrian was directly 
descended, had become, the first of his line, a Roman senator in 
the late Caesarian period, no doubt because he was a partisan 
of the dictator. Hadrian himself was the son of a man of 
praetorian rank and of a mother whose home was in Gades : the 
name of the mother, Domitia Paulina, which was passed on to 
Hadrian's younger sister, attests the pro-Roman attitude of her 
family too; he was also a son of Trajan's cousin, we do not know 
whether on the paternal or maternal side. It is probable that his 
father, the origin of whose second cognomen, Afer, remains un- 
explained, owed his rise to the praetorian rank to TJlpius Traianus, 
who was in close association with Vespasian and Titus at a critical 
period and was made a patrician in A.D* 73: similarly, Hadrian 
himself owed his whole rapid career to that Trajan's son. In a 
space of 250 years Spain had received a multitude of energies 
from Rome and Italy; since the days of Caesar and Augustus the 
romanizing of the country had made rapid progress; and now, 

1 This familiar title is used for convenience of reference in place of the 
Emperor's own Ta el? eavrov. 

2 The main literary sources for the reign of Hadrian are what remains 
of Dio LXix, and the lives of Hadrian and Aelius in the Htstoria Augusta. 
On the historical value of the H,^f. for this and the following chapter see 
below, p. 856. A collection of the relevant coins will be found in Mattingly 
and Sydenham, Rom. Imp. Coinage (see volume of Plates v, 123), vol. 11 and 
Strack, Rom. Reichspragung des r Z l < voetten Jahrhunderts, vol. 11; of inscrip- 
tions in W. Weber, Untersuchungen xur Geschichte des Kaisers Hadrianus. 


for a generation past, this Spain had been returning to Rome and 
the Kmpire in increasing measure what had grown out of those 
energies. Writers like the Senecas, Lucan, Martial and Quintilian, 
officers and administrative officials, amongst whom the Ulpii, 
Aelii, and Annii were by no means unique, Trajan and Hadrian, 
Marcus Aurelius (from the family of the Annii) and his son 
Commodus, were not merely Romans: in them the Iberian strain 
of their families can be seen working itself out; the devotion of 
Trajan to the gods of Gades, above all to Hercules Gaditanus, 
the attitude of Hadrian and of the others proves clearly that these 
* Romans * of the provinces were other than the rulers of the Julian 
or even the Flavian dynasty, who had grown up in the Italic 
homelands of the Empire. 

But the decision of Trajan to have his nephew Hadrian, early 
left an orphan, educated in Rome and then to set him on the 
career of an official, was to have great consequences. He and his 
fellow-countryman, the knight Acilius Attianus, afterwards Pre- 
fect of the Guard to both monarchs, had taken over the tutelage 
of Hadrian, who later became Trajan's nephew by marriage with 
his great-niece. On this relationship and education depend in 
the last resort Hadrian's rule, the fundamental direction of his 
policy, even his own decision to regulate the succession. Aelius 
Caesar, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus and 
Commodus, too, would not have been what they were without this 
decision. And of these, only Aelius Caesar and his son, Verus, 
were members of an Etruscan house, while the other three, who 
were immensely more important, were sprung from families in the 
provinces of the Roman Empire, namely the Aurelii Fulvi from 
Nemausus, and the Annii from Uccubis in southern Spain, and 
had become further interrelated among themselves* All this is 
the outward sign of the supersession of Italic strength by pro- 
vincial elements. 

The boy Hadrian was introduced to Greek education and took 
it up with enthusiasm. Returning to his home in 901 he gained 
early training in arms in the company of the youth of the town and 
became madly devoted to the chase. About A.D. 93 Trajan sum- 
moned him to Rome a second time. Now, like every oneinasimilar 
position, he began his career as an official and as a soldier from 
the lowest positions : in the course of his military career, as Tribune 
of three legions in 957, he came to know Lower Pannonia, 
Lower Moesia, and the Rhine, that is, the whole North Front 
of the Empire. When the childless Trajan became Emperor, his 
only nephew, now almost 22 years old, entered his circle; 


ambitious as he was, the star of secret hopes begins to rise. In 
A.D, 101, as the Imperator's quaestor, he took part in the First 
Dacian War on Trajan's staff; in the Second Dacian War, having 
now already become praetor, he commanded a legion; as an 
ex-praetor he became governor of Lower Pannonia and fought 
successfully against the Sarmatians of the plain of the Theiss. 
At the age of thirty-two he was consul sujffectus*, a few years later 
in his capacity as nephew of the Emperor he was a member of 
high-priestly Colleges and Archon of Athens, the only private 
Roman citizen who attained such distinction. A direct develop- 
ment leads from the first studies of the 'Graeculus/ as he was 
already called when a boy, through this dignity, which the town 
conferred on the most suitable person, to Hadrian *s panhellenic 
policy, the centre of which was his beloved Athens, in which 
the Spanish 'Roman' became a Greek. He enjoyed the favour 
of Plotina, the wife of his uncle, and acquired a circle of close 
friends. When he went to the Parthian War in the autumn of 
1 1 3 as chief of the general staff of the Emperor, in whose train 
was Acilius Attianus, the Prefect of the Guard and formerly 
Hadrian's guardian, the world of the East in its whole breadth 
unfolded itself before him. So, before he himself became princeps, 
he acquired a clear oversight over most of the European and Asiatic 
territories of the Empire, over its energies and the tasks which 
the Northern and the Eastern Fronts imposed. 

How much of the credit for the victories in Armenia and 
Mesopotamia should be ascribed to him can hardly be determined. 
But he was at the nerve-centre of all action. When preparing to 
return home, Trajan, who had now fallen sick, left his nephew 
behind in Antioch as governor of Syria with orders to carry on 
the war as commander of the troops. There was meanwhile a 
furious revolt raging from Cyrenaica far into Mesopotamia : even 
the victory over the Parthians and all the conquest of territory 
were jeopardized. This was the situation in which Hadrian, now 
forty-one years old, took over gigantic responsibilities. Trajan 
undoubtedly valued highly his capabilities as a general and his 
activity. But why at this moment, when he felt his health failing, did 
he not give him more comprehensive powers, as Augustus, Tiberius, 
Vespasian had done in quite different circumstances? Why did 
he not summon him to a share in his power 3 in order to secure 
for him in any event the expectation of the succession if anything 
should happen to himself? Nothing of the kind was done. At 
the beginning (perhaps on the 4th) of August 117 the Emperor 
left Syria, and on the gth at the latest he died suddenly, his 


sickness having taken an abrupt turn for the worse, in the small 
town of Selinus on the Cilician coast. When, on the 1 1 th, the 
news of his death reached Antioch, the Syrian army proclaimed 
Hadrian as his successor. This day is his 'dies imperiiS It was 
but slowly that the news reached Rome that Trajan had adopted 
his nephew while actually on his deathbed, and that the latter 
had been informed of his adoption on August 9. Amid general 
excitement people weighed the reasons which supported this 
surprising fact against the much weightier ones which showed 
Trajan as a rigorous upholder of the Augustan conception of the 
Principate; and the doubts were not, and have never been, dis- 
sipated. One thing is certain : Trajan had not, up to that point, 
taken any step which justified the conclusion that he would pro- 
pose Hadrian to the Senate as the 'best citizen/ Even assuming 
that at the last he had adopted him, the strict doctrine of the 
Principate no more entitled Hadrian than it had entitled Tiberius 
to regard the death of his father as the beginning of his own rule. 
Hadrian excused himself before the Senate, whose privilege it was 
to elect the 'optimttsj by saying that 'the army had proclaimed 
him Imperator overhastily, because the Commonwealth could 
not be without an Imperator.' The secret of Selinus, kept by 
Plotina, by Hadrian's mother-in-law Matidia, and by the Prefect 
of the Guard Attianus, the persons most nearly concerned in it, 
cannot be discovered; the only man who might have spoken 
unguardedly about it, the dead ruler's personal servant, died 
suddenly on the nth of August. Whether or not he died by his 
own hand cannot be determined beyond doubt 1 . 

Whether the adoption was a fiction or not, Hadrian publicly 
stood by it and held fast to it; for it associated him with his, 
predecessors in the Principate, the divus Nerva and Trajan, who 
on his motion was soon promoted to be divus^ and this gave him, 
as son and grandson of two gods, as it had once given to Tiberius, 
a tremendous authoritarian superiority over all other mortals. 
But neither the adoption nor Trajan's death give the date for his 
reign, which runs from 1 August u, when the acclamation of his 
army, and that alone, conferred power on him, as on Vespasian, 
a fact which the Senate could not but recognize and implement, 

1 The evidence for the childhood, youth and career of Hadrian till 117 
is collected in Pros, Imp. Rom. i 2 , pp. 20 sqq. no. 1 84. On the much discussed 
question of the adoption see W. Weber, Untersuchungen <zur Geschichte des 
Kaiser sHadrianus, pp. I sqq.> Tratan und Hadrian^ p, 246 sq, 9 Strack, op. cit. 
ii y pp. 41 sqq. The view of A. Stein in Pros. Imp. Rom. i 2 , p. 29 sq. is not 
here adopted. 


And after all, as nearest of kin, he was of the blood of the ' best 
citizen/ and the Senate had often enough made legitimate the 
succession of relatives. More than that, the armies which could 
assess his exploits better than the Senate had agreed to see in him 
the ' best citizen y himself. The Senate was confident that the new 
ruler would perform the task of winning back lost Mesopotamia. 
The Senate recognized him as the inheritor of a divine grace, 
as the son who secured for his father the divine honours that 
were his due, as the accomplisher of his father's will, who pro- 
claimed with determination peace, justice and harmony at home; 
and it desired to transfer to the living man those triumphal titles 
which belonged to the dead. But Hadrian modestly and rever- 
ently retired behind the greater figure who, though dead, still 
celebrated his Parthian triumph; and refused the title, paterpatriae 
* because/ he said, 'Augustus had only received it late in life 1 / 

Then it was soon perceived that he had no mind to continue 
his adopted father's policy. The friends and helpers of Trajan, 
among them the Moorish chief Lusius Quietus, were soon re- 
placed by the circle of his own friends ; and from the moment 
when, after Attianus' return, Rome was securely in his hands, an 
entirely new state of affairs was revealed. It was a matter of course 
that the revolt of the Jews in the Eastern provinces of the Empire 
should be suppressed with relentless rigour: his friend Marcius 
Turbo, above all, quickly accomplished the task set him (p. 303). 
tn Palestine, Egypt, Cyrenaica, calm was restored. But in Britain, 
;oo, in Mauretania, and on the Lower Danube, troubles arose 
:>r war threatened. Yet for the sake of the security of the Empire 
3eace had to prevail. Hadrian, therefore, determined to risk 
ill for the future of the Empire against the resistance of Trajan's 
;upporters and of the thorough-going imperialists, left the territory 
hat had been acquired by his predecessor to its inhabitants to 
ook after; these latter, because the Romans were not able to 
lold the land, were made into client- States and commissioned 
:o defend it. To Greater Armenia he gave back its king, the 
pretender whom Trajan had set up as King of Parthia he com- 
>ensated with other territory, and only the pressure of his friends 
nduced him to abandon the idea of giving back Dacia because 
he process of pacifying and romanizing it was so far advanced 
jtid because it was indispensable to the defence of the Empire, 

In all this he was at first only doing what Augustus too had 
iared to do in a critical situation and Tiberius had logically carried 

1 Weber, Untersuchungen, pp. 60 $qq.\ Traian und Hadrian, p. 247; 
track, op, cit. 11, pp. 43 sqq . 


out (see above,* Vol. x, pp. 379 sqq^). To silence all resistance 
to this policy, he appealed to secret instructions of Trajan, of 
which no one knew s but which equally no one could dispute. But 
there was more in his decision than that: with the erection of 
protective rule over the client-States all was not sacrificed, the 
claim of Rome was maintained, the possibility of their complete 
annexation was only postponed to a more propitious occasion ; now 
peace was necessary, and for the future a clear maintenance of the 
fundamental principle of war which, in Roman doctrine, was only 
possible when just. There was to be world- wide peace, the end of 
aggressive wars, of battles, of all piracy and all rebellion, security 
on all paths of the land and the sea from sunrise to sunset, as the 
philosopher understood it 1 , prosperity for mankind. War should 
only be waged where the defence of the Empire demanded it. 

He separated the farther East from the Empire, directing 
the Empire's energies to its own inner tasks. For the Romans 
could not protect the farther East : the power of the Empire had 
been over-strained; in the towns and in the country the masses 
were struggling for their existence and groaning under the 
burdens and the pressure of the bureaucracy. And he won the 
masses. To Italy he remitted entirely the sums due on the change 
of emperor, and reduced them for the provinces : to the small 
tenant farmers in Egypt, whose fate depended on Nile, sun, and 
desert, he made over arable land from the public or domain 
estates under new conditions; he released philosophers, rhetori- 
cians, grammarians, doctors, from all the burdens which the State, 
the provinces, the towns imposed upon them, as upon all citizens ; 
he began to make good the damage which the Jewish revolt had 
wrought in Cyrenaica, in Egypt, in Alexandria and in Cyprus, 
and granted relief to all who brought their problems to 
him* These are chance scraps of information taken at random 
concerning measures of the first days of his reign which show 
which way the wind was blowing. If Trajan was the 'victorious 
acquirer * of the Empire, as Hadrian himself had called him, he 
decided to be its preserver, the awakener of its forces, its social 
ruler and the bringer of prosperity. 

When at last, in October 117, the Emperor started from 
Antioch, to pass by easy stages along the great military road 
through the lands of Asia Minor 2 , accompanied by detach- 

1 Epictetus, Diss, m, 13, 9; Qrac. SlbylL xn, 272; see Weber, Unter- 
suchungen^ p. 49. 

2 Weber, TJntersuchungen, pp. 56 sqq^ Strack, op. cit. ir, p. 58; C. Bosch, 
Die kleinasiatuchm Mun'zen der r'om. Kaiserxeit, ir, I, pp. 94 sqq. 


ments of the armies of the West, he knew that the Senate was 
desiring his return home, but that it was powerless against his 
new policy. He did not hurry for provincial affairs kept him 
busy. He spent the winter in Asia Minor, while Marcius Turbo 
crushed the rising of the Moors. In the spring he imposed peace 
on the Lower Danube through negotiations with the king of 
the Roxolani, and also reduced to quiet the Sarmatians of the 
plain of the Theiss by a resolute converging attack from the 
Danube and from Dacia. The general who had led out the 
armies, had taken over the administration of Dacia, had made 
preparations for war, but had died in the midst of his activities, 
one highly honoured in Trajan's time, received also a triumphal 
burial 1 ; but Marcius Turbo finished off this war too. Hadrian 
had a helper, and success "with his new policy. Confidence came. 
Then he journeyed hastily to Rome, arrived on the 9th of July 
1 1 8, eleven months after he had taken over the rule. Anger had 
broken out at Rome * because he had permitted four men of 
consular rank to be executed simultaneously,' friends of Trajan 
of merit, Palma, Celsus, Nigrinus and Lusius Quietus, who, as 
was stated in Hadrian's circle, had been preparing to assassinate 
him 2 . The Senate, all too credulous, pliable, blindfolded, had 
pronounced sentence upon them; the warrant for their death in 
the hand of the executioners and their instigators (above all 
Attianus) had been fatal to all four of them before Hadrian inter- 
vened. He was formally in the right, when he laid the responsi- 
bility upon the Senate itself; he even denied that it had been 
done in accordance with his will; but the reproach that he 
had not prevented the execution, a reproach serious enough 
and yet mitigated by his absence, caused him to appear quickly, 
in order to refute the harsh judgment on his behaviour. 

With extraordinary bounties he bought the favour of the 
people ; he swore to the Senate that he would only punish senators 
on the ground of a sentence pronounced by the senatorial court; 
soon afterwards, 'the first and only one of all principes to do so,* 
with unexampled generosity he made *not only his contemporary 
fellow-citizens but their descendants, too, free of debt' : for he 
wrote off 900 million sesterces, which were owed to the Imperial 
treasury, sums of unknown but certainly not small extent, debts of 
provincials, debts too to the senatorial treasury, the accumulations 
of fifteen years, ordering the debt records to be burnt. Almost 

1 C. Julius Quadratus Bassus. Weber, jtbh. Preuss. jikad. d. Wiss. 
1932, no. 5, pp. 91 sqq. 

2 On this attempted assassination see Strack, op. ctt. ir, p. 166, n, 


directly afterwards followed the renewal and extension of Trajan's 
charitable work for the poverty-stricken youth of Italy, charitable 
bounties for impoverished senators or for women who were in 
distress through no fault of their own. A few weeks later Rome wit- 
nessed gladiatorial games and wild beast hunts on the largest scale. 
Every effort was made to obliterate the memory of his * guilt % to 
free from apprehension and to lull men's fears, to be able to secure 
and to celebrate the return of the old 'libertas.' He desired to 
be a citizen among citizens, a senator among his peers and took 
his place in the business of the Senate, even execrated those 
principes who had curtailed its rights. Playing on Cicero's funda- 
mental formula, he based his actions on the principle, which he 
often repeated before the People and the Senate, that 'he would 
manage the common property as conscious that it was the property 
of the people, not his own/ 

He had reckoned boldly and had been right : the sums which the 
war would have devoured were free at the critical moment 
ostensibly for the people and the world of the Empire, in reality 
for the final securing of his rule; and simultaneously he called to 
life the recollection of the status felicissimus, the optimus status 
civitatiS) in which Augustus had only been the first and best of the 
citizens. The effect was not lacking: the Senate bowed before 
this selflessness, did homage to the man whose position they 
had only lately disputed, 'who had restored and enriched the 
circle of the earth 1 ,' who was called, thanks to the providence of 
the gods, to work for the prosperity of the State and of the world. 
But in the midst of these rejoicings the rumour suddenly went 
round that Hadrian desired to have the Prefect of the Guard, 
Attianus, murdered. Only a short time before, he had given the 
ornamenta comularia y the highest gift he could bestow, to his former 
guardian, his most faithful helper from the elder generation ; did 
he now perhaps feel himself endangered by his pre-eminence and 
his presumption ? Actually, he only compelled him to retire, and 
Marcius Turbo became his successor; the other Prefect of the 
Guard, too, was replaced by a friend. Now, and only now, with 
his power fully secured, Hadrian had a free course. 


^Hitherto Hadrian had mastered everything with notable cer- 
tainty : his usurpation had been lost in die bright glory of being 
son to two </n?/; the policy of renouncing war had been transformed 
into sympathetic care for the well-being of the masses; the 
1 See Strack, op. cit. re, p. 61 sq 


countries devastated by the revolt had been pacified and were 
now being restored; the danger along the north-eastern frontier 
had been exorcised ; the alleged attack of the irreconcilables had 
been crushed with the harshest measures and the guilt transferred 
to other shoulders; in barely a year and a half the new ruler became 
the great mediator of divine blessing, the selfless iavisher of well- 
being, the moderate mild just pious brave Augustus, who cared 
only for the prosperity of the people and the world. Everyone 
thought he knew him, for he behaved to all simply and, as it 
seemed, openly, to Senators and to knights alike, and invited even 
freedmen to his table. He visited the sick, helped those who had 
fallen into distress, seemed gentle and kindly and yet suddenly 
spread death round him. He associated with intellectuals as one of 
themselves, rivalled them, showed enthusiasms, then suddenly 
proved that in his sobriety and strength of will he could live in such 
a way as to give soldiers an example of the strict discipline of their 
service, as if for his frame such work alone existed. Who among men 
had such wide interests, who was so many-sided and mobile, who 
thought so quickly, knew so much, surprised even those who 
stood nearest to him by his knowledge of their most secret 
thoughts ? Who was in everything so supple and yet hard as steel, 
who so cold in calculation and determined in action? He felt 
the longing of men and gave it fulfilment in philosophical 
formulae, ideologies, and illusions, but also in deeds, so that they 
greeted him with exultation where he appeared, Thus he could 
divert their attention from that which he had to do, but could 
yet inspire them again with enthusiasm as soon as his new work 
had matured. 

Hadrian understood war, was master of its conduct and means, 
relentlessly risked everything where the situation demanded it, 
and was cruel up to the moment of victory; in the Jewish war of 
the years 130135 580,000 men fell in battle and there were 
countless others whom hunger, fire, sickness destroyed; over 
1000 strongholds and villages were destroyed, and a whole nation 
banished and scattered. But just as out of the ruins a new and 
wholly different life arose, so it was everywhere: war was not 
fought for the sake of war, but only for the sake of peace, that is 
to say, on behalf of Graeco-Roman culture. The Spaniard under- 
stood the Romans, touched their inmost instincts, satisfied them, 
but was not a Roman. He understood and loved the Greeks, 
showered on them a thousand proofs of his Imperial favour, 
exalted them higher than even the Romans. But he was not a 
Greek. He did not seek the men or the curiosities of his lands to 



form himself by them. Since, in his abrupt rise, he had given 
proof of his uncanny powers, and the Senate had publicly recog- 
nized that he was divinely favoured, he was bound, now that he 
had become the centre of all activity, to take hold of and to irradiate 
the whole world of the Empire with his strength, in order to 
form it in accordance with his thoughts, to awaken and enhance 
its energies, in order that the world might become the image of his 
own being, all and yet one. He was worshipped and honoured 
as no other Emperor, a god on earth to all people. To some he 
appeared mighty as Zeus, beneficent as Asclepius, radiant as 
Helios; others feared him like Mars or the god of the Underworld 
himself. As he united all contrasts in himself, so he desired to 
compel the contrasts of the world to unity through restless activity, 
through being present everywhere and understanding everything, 
through harshness, where it averted distress, through the prodigal 
richness of his giving, where he had to banish death, create life, 
conjure up splendour and glory. His despotic striving towards 
the divine in all the world, the self-enhancement of his mysterious 
power, its setting forth for show in the image of the highest god 
of the Greeks and Romans, tokens of his intoxicating illusionism, 
offspring of his mystically dark imaginings, like his restless 
sweeping around the world, dissipated themselves at last in an 
outbreak of insanity. When he grew calm again, he found that 
light pleasure in trivial pursuits, that self-irony and scepticism 
towards all human activities and human life which wholly 
alienated him, lonely though worshipped as he was, from men. 
But no one realized that in a tragic life he had experienced in 
advance an example of what awaited all his people, 

Hadrian, when they first got to know him in Rome, had 
pointedly taken as his model the image of Augustus, sacred to all, 
To this pattern he held fast : he literally seemed to grow into that role, 
wearing it with wonderful certainty as a mask. The preservation 
of moderation was to be his highest law, where his position in the 
State was concerned; he was the complete altruist on behalf of 
humanity. The official titulature of the inscriptions gives the 
names and titles of the emperor in the usual way down to the end 
of his reign, whereas on the countless honorific inscriptions of 
Greek cities variations are often to be observed. But the central 
coinage of the Empire, these highly significant pieces of evidence 
for the history of the time, show the official titulature only in the 
first year. Then from time to time occur important alterations: 
first 'imperator' and even the name Caesar disappear; only the 
office oipontifex maximus, the tribtinicia^otestas^ the third consulate 


of the year 119, are given down to 123. From A.D. 123 to 128 he 
wished the coinage to reveal him as nothing more than ' Hadrianus 
Augustus/ to be compared without presumption in his personal 
eminence with Caesar Augustus. From 128 on appears the some- 
what more comprehensive and expressive formula * Hadriamis 
Augustus pater patriae consul tertiumV Modest in the number 
of his consulates, when compared with the great Augustus, since 
many of the higher officials of the Empire had held as many, he 
yet stood higher than all his contemporaries ; and in that he was 
now equal to the august ruler following whose precedent he did 
not assume the title pater patriae till late in life when he had 
deserved it by the multitude and greatness of his achievements. 

But there was more than that: this Spaniard, thanks to his virtus 
the first of the citizens, was now, as the exalted father of the great 
family of Rome, the root, centre, crown, of Rome's power, its 
representative towards the world, whose glance everyone who was 
banished from Rome's sight must avoid. Was not the stretch of 
road which he had traversed, to the very limits of humanity, not 
already almost unbearably great? A few months later he took 
the last step, became in Athens Zeus Olympios, the Zeus of all 
the Greeks (HaveXXrjvios). While to Rome he was to be princeps y 
Augustus^ -pater patriae y this new name was seized upon with 
intoxication by the world of enthusiastic Greeks: countless monu- 
ments testify to the zeal of the towns to celebrate the new 
Olympian. All this proves only that the boundaries between 
humanity and divinity were becoming shadowy, that heaven and 
earth were coming into contact again, that he understood the 
deepest longing of the world. In such images he enchanted the 
world, as he interpreted and covered his own activity with repeated 
pointings to the greatness of the past, or trimmed it with philo- 
sophical maxims. He might pose as one conscious that the common 
property belonged to the people, but the controller of the State, 
the first servant of his people, was really its master. His word was 
all-powerful, his word was a final decision. 

Hardly any ruler of Rome pursued the cult of the past as did 
Hadrian. In this too he followed the example of Augustus, but he 
far surpassed him in energy, and his efforts no more embraced only 
the revival of old-Roman forms and ideas of life, but the whole 
of what was Greek, and they set in motion the new emergence 
of the manifold forces of the Provinces. Hadrian knew what 
tradition meant for the State and was on his guard against altering 

1 See for the most recent treatment, Strack, op. cit n, pp. 7 sqq. passim. 



the old forms. But these forms received ever fresh content. The 
'Good fortune* of the Roman People, that every spring was to 
celebrate the birthday of Roma aeterna, was promised, and the 
new age was to bring it to pass. The People believed in it and in 
the fair fiction that the State belonged to it; but, as the masses 
of the world-capital and their standard of life had little left in 
common with the Republican period, so in this State they had 
no more power to command. 

Hadrian left the Senate unassailed. Almost to the last he kept 
his oath to respect its right to judge senators; he honoured it and 
its members, allowed it to be active and so far won it to himself 
that for almost twenty years it gave its assent to all his edicts, and 
acts of State, though none the less he limited its effectiveness even 
in Italy. But the Senate had now changed. The men who were 
prominent in it, like himself, were no longer Romans; hardly 
three of the old Roman families were still to the fore. Spaniards, 
Gauls, Africans, natives of Asia Minor, who were rich and 
established, and possessed a strong following, composed the 
assembly of the illustrious, who were no longer a reflection of 
Rome, but a reflection of a new upper class of the Empire, 
divergent in their interests, world-wide in their horizon, united 
by the influence of a uniformly political and intellectual culture. 
In this Senate was concentrated the power of the provincials, 
made fruitful by Rome's tradition, and this power had effect on all 
the parts of the Empire. The Senate seemed to continue to play 
its old role, but was almost wholly a pliant tooL It may be sign- 
ificant that Hadrian seems only to have promoted two men to 
match his own tenure of a third consulship, and these his nearest 
relatives, Julius Servianus, the husband of his beloved sister, and 
the rich patrician Annius Verus, the southern Spaniard, his friend, 
grandfather of the boy whom he cherished, as once Augustus had 
cherished his Gaius, to secure him the succession. He too kept 
his following together: the Spanish coterie ruled Rome's Empire 
more strongly even than under Trajan; it was not till Marcus 
Aurelius and his son Commodus that it disappeared. The ex- 
trusion of the Italic element from the highest class of the Empire 
and the victory of the powers of the provinces proceeded un- 
checked, thanks to his temperament and his attitude. 

Hadrian did not efface the differences between the Orders and 
their functions in the State as a matter of principle. But the tasks 
which he set his 'equestrian' friend Marcius Turbo at the be- 
ginning of his reign, and the latter's career up to the post of 
Prefect of the Guard, already show the tendency towards the new 


fragmentary papyri, mostly of the age of Caracalla ; but it is clear 
that the texts contained in these derive from contemporary ac- 
counts, and that the literary genre was of much earlier origin than 
the manuscripts themselves. Nevertheless we have no evidence^ 
literary or documentary, of any collision between Greek and Jew 
during the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius. 

In A.D. 19 Germanicus, disregarding the rule which forbade 
men of senatorial rank to enter Egypt without the Emperor's 
permission, paid a visit to the country. His action was repri- 
manded by Tiberius, and it was not made less exceptionable 
by his behaviour at Alexandria, where he appeared In Greek 
costume and took considerable pains to render himself agreeable 
to the citizens. The ostensible reason for his visit was a serious 
famine, which he relieved by opening the granaries and distri- 
buting corn to the populace. It is not surprising, particularly 
since he excluded the Jews from a share in the distribution, that 
he received from the Alexandrines such exaggerated homage as 
made it necessary for him to deprecate their excessive attentions 
and remind them that divine honours were appropriate to the 
Emperor alone 1 . It does not appear however that any special 
friction between Jews and Greeks followed his visit, nor did 
Sejanus's hostility to the Jews have any effect at Alexandria. Not 
till the reign of Gaius did serious disturbances occur. 

The prefect at this time was A. Avillius Flaccus, a trusted 
servant of Tiberius and a friend of Gaius' co-regent Gemellus, 
and of Macro, the praetorian prefect. The leaders of the Alexan- 
drian opposition were Dionysius, Isidorus, and Lampon, members 
of the civic aristocracy but turbulent and unscrupulous intriguers, 
and the last two personal enemies of Flaccus. When first Gemellus 
and then Macro fell victims to the Emperor's jealousy, Flaccus 
began to fear for his own position. He had the more reason to do 
so if the conjectural restoration of an unfortunately fragmentary 
papyrus, recently edited 2 , can be relied on \ for it would appear from 
this that Isidorus had (or claimed to have) a hand in the fall of 
Macro. The position was the more serious since Gaius felt a 
special affection for Alexandria, which he designed to visit, and 
Flaccus seems to have decided that a rapprochement with the 
nationalist party was necessary. In the existing state of feeling 
this meant hostility to the Jews; and not long afterwards events 

1 On this visit see, e.g.> C. Cichorius s Romtsche Studten> pp. 37588, and, 
against him, U. Wilcken, Hermes , JLXIII, 1928, pp. 4865, 

2 H. I. Bell, 'A New Fragment of the Acta Isidori/ Arch. Pap. x, 1932, 
pp. 5 sqq. 


occurred which precipitated a clash between the two factions. 
Julius Agrippa, the friend and boon companion of the Emperor, 
had been made by him king of the former tetrarchies of Philip 
and Lysanias ; and tearing himself away from the dissipations of 
Rome in the early summer of A.D. 38, he set out for his kingdom 
by way of Alexandria, where his last appearance had been in the 
role of a bankrupt fleeing from his creditors. When the Jews, 
despite an attempt on his part to make an unobtrusive entry, gave 
him a royal reception, the irritated Alexandrines staged an elabo- 
rate parody of him and his suite, parading through the streets an 
idiot in royal robes. It was a gross insult to an intimate friend of 
Gaius, and alike to the demonstrators and to Flaccus, who had 
taken no action against them, and who had moreover suppressed 
a decree in honour of the Emperor which the Jews had asked him 
to forward, reflection brought considerable misgiving. When 
therefore the Alexandrines hit upon the idea of demanding that 
statues of Gaius should be placed in the Jewish synagogues con- 
formably to Imperial order, Flaccus welcomed the move, and on 
the Inevitable refusal by the Jews branded them in an edict as 
c aliens and intruders/ Taking the hint, the city mob fell upon the 
Jews with the cry to restrict them to the * Delta * quarter. Statues 
of the Emperor and a quadriga, dragged from the gymnasium, 
were introduced into the synagogues, several of which were 
burned, the Jewish houses were pillaged, and many of the Jews 
themselves were butchered with every circumstance of horror. 
Flaccus, who chose to throw the blame for these events on the 
Jews, had many members of their council publicly scourged, and 
forbade the exercise of their religion, closing the synagogues. 

The Jews, however, were not without a defender. Agrippa 
procured a copy of their suppressed decree and sent it to Gaius, 
doubtless with a formal complaint against the prefect, whose 
complaisance to the Alexandrines had signally failed in its object, 
since Isidorus and Lampon now appeared at Rome as his accusers. 
Gaius needed no incentive to proceed against an official already 
suspect; a centurion from Rome arrested Flaccus as he was dining 
at the house of one of Tiberius 's freedmen, and he was taken to 
Rome, condemned, banished to Andros, and later put to death 

The Jews, impoverished by the pillage of their homes, denied 
the right of worship, and apprehensive of further outrages, sent 
an embassy to Rome, of which Philo, one of the envoys, has given 
a vivid account. They failed to obtain satisfaction but suffered no 
evil consequences beyond a rather terrifying display of Gaius* 


acquired a new meaning 1 . He raised the Guard to be the elite of 
the army, made it into a model regiment as the representative 
of Roman discipline, to which, often enough, he drew attention ; 
he picked out its officers to be instructors and commanders of the 
troops of the line, in order that the technique and spirit of the line 
troops might all reach one level; the higher officers' posts he 
offered only to natives of Italy or provincials of Italic blood. 

But at the same time, as a fundamental principle, he decreed 
that the army should be recruited from the sons of the provinces 
in which the several units were quartered: he allowed these 
provincials free access to the career of officers in them, and 
thereby brought it about that the portions of the army belonging 
to the individual provinces became wholly identified with them. 
To the cavalry, which was composed solely of provincials, he 
made concessions, permitting them un-Roman battle-cries; and 
he formed bodies of frontier-dwellers, who were instructed in their 
own camps as a militia and, as non-romanized elements, acquired 
nothing of the spirit of Rome. In this way the training of the 
army, in so far as it included the provincials, did indeed contribute 
to the unification of the dwellers in the empire; on the other hand, 
the presence of the provincial troops gave to the nationes a strong 
lever for the furtherance of their own interests, while the mere fact 
of the broadening of the basis shows that the way was leading to- 
wards decentralization. The exercifus Romanus^ once the levy of the 
citizens of Rome and Italy for the protection of their possessions 
in the world, was now the imperial army along the imperial 
frontiers, which had to defend the interests of the disarmed 
population of the empire against enemies from without and within. 

Its strength was secured upon the broad basis of the forces 
of the Empire. On these the pyramid of the army was built up, 
reaching its apex in the Guard. Like the bureaucracy, the 
army became a great instrument of power in the hand of the ruler 
who controlled it; and it could hardly stand any longer for the 
Roman idea of the lordship of Rome over the world, since the 
nationes were taking the place of Rome and Italy. But what 
would happen when the Guard, which was meant to hold together 
the whole in a Roman spirit, should no longer exist? When in 
193 Severus dissolved this Roman-Italic Guard and replaced it 
by picked bodies of men from the provincial armies, especially 
the Danube army, 'He wholly ruined the youth of Italy, which 

1 On the reform of the army see von Domaszewski, op. cit. esp. p; 
Weber* Tratan urtd Hadrian, pp. 258^.5 Ritterling in P.W, s.v. legio, 
cols. 1288 sqq.i E. Sander in PhiloL LXXXVII, 1932, pp. 369 sqq, 


now had to turn to banditry and gladiatorial careers instead of 
military service, and he filled Rome with a motley crowd of soldiers s 
wild or aspect, dreadful in speech, boorish in behaviour 1 / The 
last remnant of Roman character was then expelled from the ex- 
erdtus Romanus^ and the provincialization of the army, and simul- 
taneously the re-arming of the provinces, was finally completed. 
In harmony with the ideal of peace the army was set a new task : 
instead of offensive action for the acquisition of new territory 
everything was now based upon a defensive. To this idea corre- 
sponded the re-grouping of the troops in the frontier provinces, 
the movement of auxilia right up to the imperial frontiers, which 
were now sharply delimited, corrected here and there, and made 
secure by Hadrian on his journeys in accordance with new points 
of view, in order that in the territory behind them the culture of 
the Empire might be peacefully developed. For, where no natural 
barriers were interposed and the observation of the enemy was 
made possible by rivers like the Rhine, the Danube, the Euphrates, 
or by frontier mountain-ranges, as in North Africa, the systems 
of frontier limites were carried straight across the country by the 
surveying skill of the soldiers, in part without consideration of the 
nature of the land: the Upper German limes of the Flavian 
period and the British limes perhaps of the Trajanic period 2 were 
examples of this (see above, p. 1 83). These limites were made into 
frontier fortifications, either by means of palisades on earthen ram- 
parts, as in Upper Germany, or by a wall such as c Hadrian's Wall * 
in Britain, which bestrode the country for a length of 80 Roman 
miles (see below, pp. 5*22 sqq^). These constructions, which were 
made secure by means of wide ditches pushed out in front of them 
and by numerous towers and forts with their garrisons, separ- 
ated the civilized empire from the * barbarian ' world outside ; they 
brought it about that trade from outside, which could only enter at 
certain fixed points, could be watched and subjected to fiscal con- 
trol ; they helped to prevent raids on the part of small hostile 
groups and to hold up the surprise attacks of larger masses, 
until the troops from the territory behind, disposed in deep 
echelon, were brought up. The new organization of frontier pro- 
tection which was created in order to guarantee the security of 
the empire and of the frontier provinces, which, now, were con- 
tinually being more deeply permeated with its * civilization,' had 
a reflex action upon the army, which was deprived of the idea of 

1 Die LXXV, 2. 

2 On the limites see E. Fabric! us in P.W. s.v* and in O.R.L. A n, 
Strecke 3, pp. 41 sqq. and above, pp. 


the offensive: on the other hand, the organization was not strong 
enough to prevent serious and vigorously pursued attacks upon 
the Empire. 

Even in the few warlike undertakings which he carried out, 
Hadrian held to the idea of the defensive throughout. He began 
with the overthrow of the Jewish rebellion and of the Moors and 
Sarmatians in the first year of his reign ; next came the crushing of 
the rebellious Britons, who had destroyed the legion IX Hispana 
in the camp of Eburacum, and the expeditio Britannica y which 
ended in 1 19 with the pacification of the country, and was followed, 
on his visit in 122, by the construction of Hadrian's Wall.' 
Then came the second Moorish revolt (isa) 1 , in which the virtus 
Augusti and the * harmony of the armies* restored peace in victory 
* through a fortunate success/ so that the Senate celebrated it with 
a festival of thanksgiving. The same idea is seen in an almost for- 
gotten undertaking 2 , in the averting of the danger of war along 
the Euphrates frontier by means of his appearance in person and 
his negotiations with the Parthian king (i 23), and in cases wherein 
he, as arbitrator, settled the quarrels of the Empire with its neigh- 
bours. When the Alani invaded Roman territory across the 
Caucasus in north-east Asia Minor, he was content to have them 
successfully repelled by the provincial governor Arrianus. 

Finally, his serious war, that against the Jews, was in essence 
purely defensive. In it he was rally justified in taking drastic 
and relentless measures. On his journey through the Jewish 
territory (in the early summer of 130) he had ordered the 
building of a new town, a Roman colony with * Greek' settlers, 
on the site of Jerusalem, which Titus had destroyed, and alongside 
the legionary camp of the X Fretensis: this town was to bear the 
name Aelia Capitolina, and in the place of the old temple of 
Jehovah he ordered one to be erected to Juppiter Capitolmus, 
in which he himself was to be honoured. So here also new life was 
to blossom forth from ruins. But the breach with the past was 
unavoidable. Under the protectorship of the all-uniting highest 
god of the Empire, and of the new founder of the town, 
Graeco-Roman culture was henceforth to prosper. The Jews of 
the country were roused by this, as were soon the Jews in every 
quarter of the civilized world. This excitement led to veiled 
opposition : a revolt was prepared but no more, as long as Hadrian 
still remained in the East (130132), But when he was far away, 

1 Strack, op. cit. ir, pp. 71 sqq. 

2 Strack, op. ctt. ir, p. 80^.; perhaps rather support for the wars of Cotys 
against the Scythians, see Weber, Untersuchungen^ p. 151 s<j. 


there began a guerrilla war of caverns, ravines, mountain fastnesses, 
which the Roman army of occupation at first did not take seriously* 
A new Messiah, Bar Kochba, Son of the Star, led his people and 
stiffened their resistance. Aelia was taken by storm, soon after- 
wards the Egyptian legion, XXII Deiotariana, was cut up, and the 
troops whom Hadrian sent, above all from far-off Britain under 
capable leaders, whose governor was Julius Severus, had great 
difficulty in coping with superior numbers. The frenzy grew, the 
situation was so serious that in the summer of 1 34 Hadrian himself 
once more travelled from Rome to the scene of war. 985 villages 
of some account were taken, 50 mountain fastnesses were des- 
troyed; 5" 8 0,000 men were slaughtered, and to these must be 
added an incalculable number of those who perished by hunger, 
fire and pestilence. The Roman losses also were great. The ex- 
tirpation of the fanatical race was followed by the re-organization 
of Syria Palaestina and its reconstruction. In December 135 the 
ruler adopted the title Imperator //, a proof that the hard victory 
had been definitely won. 


Hadrian's activities in the spheres of law, economics and social 
life in Rome, Italy, and the empire, can only be briefly touched 
upon. The principles which he proclaimed at the beginning of 
his rule remained decisive in all that he did. He fulfilled the 
ruler's duty to be the supreme lord of justice often and willingly, 
not only in Rome, but also at many places upon his journeys, 
displaying the many-sided industry which characterizes his nature. 
And the great number of his legal decisions of which we know 
shows how fruitful his activity was. His decisions were famous 
for their clear and homely wording, pertinent pronouncements 
were collected and circulated in writings of his own, and the 
later books of law cite many of his legal interpretations and 
decisions. In these he created new law, in his capacity as highest 
tribunal of law in many matters; and the appointment of 
eminent jurists to be Praetorian Prefects, and so to preside 
over the consilium prindpis^ shows what stress he laid upon the 
principle that his representative on this body also should be in a 
position to serve authoritatively and fully the idea of justice. 

Often enough in Hadrian's decisions are seen the motives 
which determine him. Humanity, natural equity and a justice 
which proceeds from deep ethical sources must be the judge's 
supports. Not caprice, but objectivity, must rule; human nature 


or the threat of them ; and when we read in a petition dating from 
about A.D. 55-60 of villages partially depopulated by the flight or 
death of tax-payers 1 we cannot doubt that there was something 
gravely wrong with the whole system. For though local causes 
may have been operative here, this piece of evidence, though 
specially striking, does not stand alone. The population was 
burdened to its utmost capacity, and any failure of the harvest 
or slump in prices, though some remission of taxes might be con- 
ceded, was bound to cause a crisis. From every such crisis re- 
covery became progressively more difficult under a government 
whose one remedy for a failure in the policy of compulsion was to 
tighten up the system, and which met a default on the part of the 
tax-payer or liturgist by shifting his burden on to other shoulders. 
Thus the early Principate, efficient as was its administration and 
just as were its intentions, may fairly be held to have sown the 
seed whose harvest was to be the economic collapse of the third 
century and, in process of the years, the Byzantine servile State. 

* S.B. 7462 (= P. Grauxa). 



victory of Octavian over Antony and Cleopatra placed 
Jl the client-kingdoms in Asia Minor and Syria, no less than 
Egypt, within his grasp. But it was no part of his policy to make 
far-reaching changes in these regions, and as has been seen 
(pp. 113 sqq?) he even maintained many of Antony's arrangements. 
Among the kings who were confirmed in their power there was 
one who by his personality stood out among the rest, and of whom 
the ancient sources permit a connected account 1 . This was Herod, 
whose kingdom of Judaea was to have more significance for 
history than its political importance warranted. In this chapter the 
history of the Jews will be resumed from the death of Caesar 2 and 
carried on beyond the reign of Herod to the moment at which 
Judaea was transformed into a Roman province, 

Only a few weeks before his murder Caesar had reaffirmed his 
trust in the High Priest Hyrcanus II and his Idumaean minister 
Antipater by allowing them to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and 
by granting, presumably in connection with the heavy expenses 
the rebuilding would entail, a remission in the amount of tribute 
due 3 . In spite of this, scarcely had Cassius won possession of 
Syria (p. 1 8), before the Jewish government afforded him help, 
and to the general reasons for their attitude one in particular 
should perhaps be added the influence of Antipater's son, 
Herod, Young though he was 4 , he early had political experience; 

1 Practically the sole source for this chapter is the two parallel accounts of 
Josephus (Bell. Jud. i [10, 10], aii-n [8, 14], 166 and jfnt. xiv [n, 2], 
271 xviii). On the relation between these two narratives see Note 7, 
p. 885 sq. For other sources see the Bibliography. A genealogical table of the 
House of Herod will be found at the end of the volume. See also Map 3, 
facing p. 31, 

2 See above, vol. ix, pp. 404 sqq. 

3 Josephus, Ant, xiv [10, 6], 203206 shows that Caesar did not free 
Judaea from the obligation to pay tribute, but made new regulations 5 in that 
passage the tribute in kind is ordered to be paid at Sidon, obviously either for 
dispatch to Italy or for disposal by the Roman governor. In xrv [10, 2], 195 
and [10, 6], 204 the only immunity granted is from requisitions by armies 
passing through. 

4 He was bom c. 73 B.C. See W, Otto in P./F"., s.v. Herodes, col 16. 


who at the Emperor's mcennalia pay him harmonious tribute on 
the Empire coins as fair symbols of his activity on their behalf. 
It was to local provincial spirit and cohesion that Hadrian's 
adoptive father Trajan, and thus Hadrian himself, owed the lord- 
ship over the world; this spirit was everywhere still alive, and 
it will grow ever stronger and stronger dressed in Roman forms 
of life; in struggle with 'Rome* it will continually give the latter 
new powers, but will also transform it. And so the State organiza- 
tion as a whole appears almost only as the outward shell, the form 
for the ordering of life; the army appears as the protecting, the 
bureaucracy as the regulating power ; but all these three are taken 
possession of with ever increasing sureness, from now on, by 
these nationes. But if one believes the panegyrist, there arises 
the impression that the * masses ' in the country are only an * object ' 
made use of by the ruling classes, by the caprice of the officials : 
in reality the first beginnings of the new regime show that Hadrian, 
in accordance with his principles, did not overlook them either. 
The allotment of arable land to the Egyptian fellaheen, the frag- 
ments of his legislation concerning agricultural land, the statute 
concerning the African domains, and everything else which we 
hear, prove that he wished to prevent the land from becoming 
barren, to open up new areas to cultivation, to protect the small 
peasants from oppression and to further their prosperity. He 
settles them on domain-lands, where they are to be free and to earn 
enough to be able to exist. 

In this empire of material prosperity industry and trade flour- 
ished, thanks to internal peace and to the security on all routes. 
Each was dependent on the other. Industry satisfied the needs 
of the local market, but also created enough goods for export in 
small and great concerns, in the manufactories owned and run by 
the great estates of the temples in the East, on the rapidly grow- 
ing domain-lands. In this way industry was at the same time 
drawn from the confines of the cities also into the country* But 
the State, in many respects the owner of the raw materials, which 
for the most part carried on the production of metals, precious 
stones, marble, as its own monopoly, but also permitted private 
persons to engage in these trades, did not yet damage private trade 
by its own excessive power; on the contrary, it made use of private 
enterprise in deliveries for State undertakings. And private enter- 
prise can hardly ever have been so powerfully stimulated during 
these centuries as it was by Hadrian, whose initiative spurred 
on the rich to imitate him, whose great building activity created 
work, and thereby caused money to be earned, in all the territories 


through which he passed ; even though it may be said of him that 
he banded together builders of all classes in cohorts according to 
military practice, took them with him on his journeys, and set 
them to work on the erection and the decoration of walls. But 
trade, whether local or regional, and now for the first time really 
universal was in full swing; and great distances were overcome 
by it, remote provinces were captured, the northern and the 
south-eastern frontiers of the empire were left further behind 
than ever before. The economic opening-up of the younger pro- 
vinces, in North Africa, in the East, in the Danube area, along the 
Rhine, and even in such remote areas as Britain, made rapid steps 
forward ; and in Gaul especially new forces were active and creative 
forces developed. Oriental trade, however, with great energy, 
won elbow-room in the countries of the West. From all this there 
results a new orientation of the driving forces in the empire: Gaul 
especially, but also the Rhinelands, Britain, Spain and Africa, 
having adopted for generations the technical achievements and 
the taste of Italian handicraft, and the forms of its products, drove 
out Italian competition from the markets of their interior territory 
and provided for those markets themselves. Gaul, above all, actually 
became Italy's competitor in other provinces and in Italy. It is 
true that in doing so it had given up its old native forms of goods 
and adapted Italian taste to its own uses, thereby deliberately 
contributing to the process of unifying all exterior forms of life 
in the empire; but in Gaul too, and not in Britain alone, the Celtic 
spirit was to be found, while in Africa and Spain the spirit of the 
old nationes still survived. And the East, which only needed to 
continue that which it had practised for thousands of years and 
had practised most of all in the centuries since the beginning of 
'Hellenism/ betrays in everything that it had no mind to give 
up its own native ways. So in the economic world, too, is revealed 
the same picture which the political activity of Hadrian had brought 
about, Hadrian knew the whole empire: in efforts continually 
renewed he observed on his journeys the losses, the needs and 
wishes of the countries, towns, villages, estates, and of the men in 
them: everywhere he intervened in a creative spirit. His name is 
writ large on every region of the Roman world 1 . 

If one includes the first journey, mentioned already, from 
the East to Rome (1178), and the journey to the scene of the 
Jewish War (1345), Hadrian dedicated some twelve out of the 
twenty-one years of the reign to restless wanderings through the 

See Weber, Untersuchungen, passim; Traian und Hadrian, pp. 263 sqq.^ 
M. RostovtzefF, See. and Econ. Hist, of the Roman Empire, pp. 318 sqq. 


empire 1 . He first spent only two years In Rome and Italy (July 
1 1 8 until the middle of 1 20); from 121 until 1 25, then again from 
128 until 133 he was on the move, beginning with the West^ 
Gaul, Germany, Raetia, Noricum, hastening through Britain and 
western Gaul, visiting Spain and fighting in Morocco. Travelling 
eastwards along the African coast he visited Africa, Cyrenaica, 
hurried by way of the islands and Asia Minor to the Euphrates; 
returned through the lands of northern Asia Minor, passed 
through the Balkan lands as far as Pannonia and Dalmatia, then 
and then only turned to Greece, in order at last to return to 
Rome after five years of wandering. He only remained there for 
just three years ; in 1 2 8 he crossed again to Africa, spent the winter 
in Athens, passed through the territories of southern Asia Minor, 
Syria, Phoenicia, Arabia and Palestine, Egypt as far as into the 
upper Nile valley and once again Asia Minor, as far as up to the 
districts of the Black Sea, to betake himself to Athens for a third 
time in 132. He returned to the capital, perhaps not until some 
time in the year 133 ; from late summer 134 to 135 he spent time 
in Palestine; the last two and a half years were given to Rome and 
its neighbourhood. 

Only about four years of his period of wandering were given 
to the West and the Danubian regions; the Greek-speaking East 
greatly predominates. He wished to convince himself everywhere 
by his own observation, by seeing and experience, how the 
arrangements of the State were standing up to usage, and to 
convince men that the forces of the past and present sufficed to 
create a strong future. He did not go on his travels in order to 
show himself to men as sovereign ; he wished to win their hearts 
and their enthusiasm through his presence and activity. He 
inspected the officials and the troops, pronounced justice and 
visited the frontiers, arranged their defence and the allotment 
of the troops in their garrisons, held parades, exercises, manoeuvres. 
He heard the petitions of the provincials, granting what and where 
he could. He gave water-systems and bridges, laid out roads, 
indeed systems of road-networks, in order to open up still more 
the inner regions of provinces like Africa, Spain 3 Galatia. He 
rebuilt destroyed cities^ founded fresh ones in the vicinity ^of 
military camps, at important points; he raised the old centres of 
the districts of Syria, Phoenicia, Arabia, to be capital cities, in 
order to strengthen what were once the seats of independent rulers, 
as the backbone of culture, and to avoid all-too-stringent central- 

1 See Weber, Untersuchungen y passim > Traian und Hadrian^ pp. 2-64 sqq*\ 
Strack, op. cit. n, pp. 73 sqq. 9 8 1 jjy., 117 sqq. 9 139 sqq. 


izatlon. From the Euphrates and the Arabian desert to Upper 
Egypt, to Mauretania, Britain and the Crimea, his helping hand 
raised up this town-culture in Graeco-Roman form. Countless 
buildings arose everywhere in the towns temples, halls, baths, 
town-walls and gates; in this way work was created; his example 
found emulation in foundations of the competing parts of the 
empire. Gods were honoured, and among them the ruler, in the 
West as in the East most of all in the latter, where life 
blossomed anew as if by magic. Here he honoured a great 
man of the past, there he competed in intellectual conversation 
with philosophers, artists and scholars 3 but he also climbed 
Mt Casius near Antioch and Etna, to enjoy the miracle of the 

As was said already, the Greek Polis is once again victoriously 
exalted as the form of the community, and that in the East; even 
in the Egyptian countryside there arises at his command a new 
town, Antinoopolis, which, colonized by veterans of Greek 
blood from Egypt, glorified in the names of its tribes and demes 
a skilfully artificial system, the house of the ruler, the divine 
forms in which he appeared and his relations to Eleusis and 
Athens (see pp. 2 9 9, 319). That is no mere chance. For his thoughts 
and endeavours were directed towards Athens, towards the salvation 
of the Greek world, the centre of which Athens must remain. He 
showed more favour to that city than to any other town . As architect, 
refounder, renewer of its cults, even of its laws, he, whose image 
received a place in the Parthenon, entered upon a bond of alliance 
with Athena; he became Zeus Olympics, the lord of the Olym- 
pieion, at last completed; having become an initiate of Eleusis 
he was raised to be a hero in the cult; he became Zeus Pan- 
hellenios, who summoned all the Greeks in the world to remember 
their race, to act in the consciousness of being Greek. FromPontus 
and Syria as far as to their old mother-country the Greeks joined 
together into a union of Panhellenes, avowing their friendship to 
Rome, their gratitude to the ruler, pointing to their ancestry and 
their Greek blood. Hadrian was in person the originator of a 
Greek renaissance of the gods, of their cults and mythology, of 
art and learning, of the whole of^life. The initiator of this new 
humanism 1 , who now more than ever praised Rome as a Greek 
town, who spoke of the noble mind of the Greek, of his glorious 

1 It has anti-Oriental tendencies. Weber, Untersttchttngen, pp. 271 $qq* 
id* Handelinge van den xm Nederlandse Filologencongress> 1913, pp. 42 $qq*\ 
id. Traian und Hadrian, pp. 268 sqq.y J. Vogt, Alexandrinische Kaiser- 
mun i z,en> i, pp. 103 sqq* 


language, of the charm of the barbarian, he it was who * holds his 
hand over the towns, sets them up, makes free and autonomous 
the Best, those who have led for ages, leads the others with great 
consideration and care, educates the barbarians to mildness 1 / He 
made the nations conscious of their national life, in order to 
incorporate that life in the world of the Empire and wholly to 
permeate it with the Greek form, a federalist and a * European * 
at the same time. 

After these beneficent manifestations of his divinely-appointed 
power, Hadrian, broken by the death of his favourite Antinous* 
raised that Bithynian youth to godhead as Pan, as youthful Hermes ? 
as the good god pure and simple, the bestower of fertility, the 
mediator between heaven and earth; he exalted him as the prin- 
ciple of youth and of the beauty of Greek form, caused him to be 
honoured in the wide circle of his Panhellenes as the symbol of his 
aesthetic-humanistic ideal and enthusiasm. Once in his beloved 
Athens one of the leaders of the still young Christian religion 
handed to this same Emperor a treatise which used the methods 
of Greek thought to refute the reproaches levelled by the world 
against his religion and which proclaimed the victorious truth of the 
new belief. The great wonder-worker and enthusiast passed it by. 
It never revealed itself to him in all its depths. That is strange 
enough, since in the end he did not close his eyes to the magic 
world of oriental religious images and thoughts. He had seen the 
sanctuaries of the gods of Asia, he knew the Alexandrian god 
Sarapis, honoured the Egyptian goddess Isis, listened to Egyptian 
thaumaturges, did honour to magi, received and accepted the 
pantheistic teaching of the astrologers. He shattered the fanatical 
fury of the new Jewish Messiah and his people; he built the 
Pantheon in Rome and that in Athens, in both of which his 
struggle to attain the divinely universal assumed shape. In his 
huge villa at Tivoli, as in a museum, he united the remembrances 
of notable places of the earth, the vale of Tempe, Canopus, 
Athens an Academy, a Lyceum, a Prytaneum, a Poecile Stoa 
and with them an *Orcus* and an 'Elysium.* 

One ponders vainly why he did not point the way to domination 
to the new religion of the Christians. Was it because it emanated 
from the Jewish area? Did he overlook the limitations of the 
effective power of his own ideal, of his new youthful god ? Must 
the god-ruler first bow in humility before the new god? Did 
everything come too late to him, who indeed himself, in con- 
tradiction to his Panhellenic policy, permitted marriasres between 
1 Aelius Aristides, XXYI K* 96. 

C.A.H. XI 


Greeks and Egyptians to the Inhabitants of Antinoopolis, and 
in the spirit of Trajan's policy of toleration rejected accusations 
against Christians, unless they were based on acts punishable 
under the criminal code ? The last great impression which Hadrian 
received was that of the fanatical struggle of the Jews. His 
harshness in crushing the eternal rebels, which made a shattering 
impression on the world, and his unrestrained fury against his 
Roman circle, friends and senators, all this shows that his powers 
were exhausted, his ideal had paled. Men and the world passed 
from his ken; madness overpowered him. The constant seeker 
after god, who had himself become a god, the proclaimer of the 
new divinity, the rejecter of him who was to conquer, was himself 
smitten by the deity. At times he busied himself with the duties 
of the day; then he relapsed again, harsh towards men and the 
world, into brooding and trifling. 

In the summer of 136, as his sickness grew worse, Hadrian 
suddenly arranged for the succession. He made a survey and said, 
at a gathering of his friends, that they should name to him the 
ten best men, but turned away from the suitable persons. His 
fate was tragic enough: he compelled his own brother-in-law, 
Servianus, aged 90, of whom he himself at that gathering had 
first thought as his successor, to die, and also Servianus' grandson, 
the only representative of the blood of the Hadriani; with mind 
darkened and unstable in judgment, even if he only desired to 
make him the place-keeper for a boy, he chose out and adopted, to 
the disappointment of all, one of the consuls for the year 136, 
L. Ceionius Commodus, a man of Etruscan family, who had 
given no proof of his suitability as * optimus 9 nor, so far as we know, 
was related to Hadrian, and moreover was a sick man. Was it 
a sign of madness or is it an invention that he declared his beauty 
to commend him to his choice ? As a matter of fact, however, he 
only regarded him as one to keep the place warm for his favourite 
M. Annius Verus, since to this latter, who was just fifteen years 
old, he betrothed Ceionius' daughter. He designated Ceionius 
for a second consulship in 137, entrusted him with the administra- 
tion of both Pannonias with the imperium proconsulare^ layished 
great sums on soldiers and people and games, and nevertheless 
only^ leant, as he was bound to see on the ist of January 138, 
'against a fragile wall/ For when he returned from the provinces 
and was on that day about to deliver his speech of thanks to Hadrian 
in ^the Senate, L. Aelius Caesar, as he was called as presumptive 
heir, collapsed and died of a haemorrhage. Disappointments 
without end marked Hadrian's way^ his bitterness broke out when 


he forbade that the dead man should be mourned, when he even 
lamented that he had spent so much money for nothing, 

In the summer of 137, after twenty years of his reign 1 . Senate 
and People and world praised him as the giver of blessings. In 
a demonstration without equal, reference was made to the peoples, 
the armies, the countries and towns, which, taken all together as 
the Empire of this ruler, had enjoyed the good-fortune of his 
advent, had been blessed by his activity in the re-establishment of 
their powers. Thanks were given to the gods who protected him 
and helped him to maintain peace for the world, to bring the 
earth into equipoise and security, who had given the Golden Age, 
the time of good-fortune for Rome and its world. And, now 
that he generously lavished presents and reported what he had 
done, and asserted that, with Rome's freedom secured, loyalty 
would continue between ruler and people, while the Senate praised 
him as a new Romulus, as a peaceful ruler over land and sea, he 
could not help seeing that at last he was wholly understood in 
Rome too. But now he had pleasure in nothing. 

He was a tragic lonely figure in his last year of life. His hope 
was centred on the boy Annius Verus. He overcame the dis- 
appointment which the death of the Caesar had caused him, but 
preserved for the son of that Caesar his rights. When on his last 
birthday (January 24, 138) Hadrian, already mortally ill, sum- 
moned the most honoured senators to himself, he announced his 
intention of adopting the consular T. Aurelius Fulvus Boionius 
Arrius Antoninus, a member of his council, a long-standing 
friend of his house, perhaps related to Plotina, and through his 
wife uncle of the young Annius Verus. Four weeks later, on 
February 25, 138, when Antoninus, whose own two sons had 
died young, had adopted the young Verus and the son of the dead 
Aelius Caesar, and had also acquiesced in Hadrian's resolve, 
Hadrian took him as his son. He called himself, from now until 
the death of Hadrian, 'Imperator T. Aelius Caesar Antoninus 
trib. pot. cos.*: for he received the impermm proconsular and 
the tribunicia potesfas, as had once Tiberius, and moreover, the 
first to do so, the title Imperator to be borne as praenomen. With 
this last act of the sick man the succession was regulated for two 
generations, since Hadrian (like Tiberius in former years) had 
intended to secure it for the two boys as well. Herein he would, 
like Augustus, bend the future to his will. Augustus remained, 
too, his model for death. He desired to die as serenely as had 
Augustus, after he had tried, in desperation and in vain, to lay 
1 Strack, op. cit. II, pp. 1 84 sqq. 5 cf. pp. 1 39 sqq. 


violent hands on himself. Half mocking verses stole from his lips 
about his 'wandering, pleasing little soul, that now descends into 
the pale, cold, naked, underworld, and jests no more. . ..' 'Hated by 
all/ according to his biographer, he died in Baiae, and lay in State 
first in Cicero's villa at Puteoli. Thanks to the energy of his adopted 
son, the dead man was placed in his monument on the far side of the 
Tiber, built after the model of the Mausoleum of Augustus, and 
still unfinished 1 ; and, in spite of the opposition of the Senate, 
which at first was violent, he also entered, as divus^ into the Heaven 
of the Roman State. 

1 CJ.L. vi, 984, dedicated towards the end of A.D. 1 39, S.H. A. Pius, 8 5 2, 




[ADRIAN'S strength was born of the mingling in him of old- 
[Itallan and Iberian and perhaps African-Semitic blood; the 
ocean, the plain, now luxuriant now sun-stricken, and the sluggish 
river of the south-western edge of the empire left their mark on 
his family and his childhood. Trajan had set him in the currents of 
the provincial movement, and like Trajan he brought with him 
a nature full of contrasts: at once lively and majestic, with the 
play of sentiment and the pose of greatness, despising the body 
and full of the discipline and gravity of the soul and the spirit, 
with a wide outlook, a power of organization, an unshaken will 
to master the world of earth and of heaven, a strange almost 
mystical impulse to a universal embracing unity. Thus he takes 
his place as one of the strongest in the line of the great Spaniards 
rather than of * Roman' rulers: he stands nearer to the Alphonsos 
and Borgias, to Ignatius, Charles V or Philip II than to Augustus 
whom he affected to embody. Cold to dissemble, resolute in act, 
he had won Rome, the Empire's centre, and from it he wandered 
over the whole world. He had defended it in arms at the four 
corners of civilization, in Britain, in Mauretania, in the South- 
East, on the Danube and the Black Sea* He had made the final 
cleavage between Orient and Occident and laid upon the West 
the task of defending European culture by the disciplined strength 
of the army and the unresting all-pervading activity of the officials, 
by drawing on the forces of the cities and country that made up 
the Empire; by ceaseless striving after a 'culture* full of life. His 
aim was to end barbarism, to keep the oriental world at arm's 
length and to strive to maintain the Greek way of life which was 
the bond between Rome and its empire. To that end he made of 
Athens a second focus of the empire, Its new centre for things 
of the mind* His appeal, the strength and resources that he 
brought to the task seemed to promise success. His collapse was 
of evil augury. The dark days to come could only be averted by 
like efforts and self-sacrifice, which alone could enable the Empire 

Note. Exigencies of space have made necessary in this chapter certain 
omissions and abridgements of a fuller text. 


to revolve round Eternal Rome and not only round its ever-active 

The man whom Hadrian adopted after the sudden death of 
L. Aelius Caesar was cast in a different mould. T. Aelius An- 
toninus 1 presented the sharpest contrast to Hadrian, in his 
character and historical effect. His family, which originated at 
Nemausus (Nimes) in Gaul, had during the last two generations 
risen to distinction at Rome. Though the history of the Province 
in his reign showed that he did not forget whence his race had 
sprung or perhaps it was Nemausus that was careful not to 
forget he may never have seen his home. All he knew at first 
was the neighbourhood of Rome, the Latin and south Etruscan 
countryside. After his father's death he was brought up in the 
house of his paternal grandfather Aurelius and then in that of his 
maternal grandfather Arrius Antoninus, who was still alive in 
A.D. 1 06. The property inherited from these two families made 
him one of the richest men of Rome and brought him estates not 
only in Latium and south Etruria near Lorium but farther afield 
in Etruria, in Umbria and Picenum and, perhaps later, in Cam- 
pania. This fact was decisive for his thinking and acting. In love 
with the quiet and the tasks offered by his country estates he could 
forgo life in Rome and had no desire to travel over the world. 
He was happy to live in Lorium or Alsium, Lanuvium or Tus- 
culum, Centumcellae or Signia, Baiae or Naples, and even when 
he became Emperor he did not care to leave Italy but left others 
to take charge of wars and administration in the empire. With 
no taste for splendour or parade, thrifty and prudential, the 
careful steward of his own possessions, he rebuked his wife, on 
becoming co-regent ' Have you not wit to see that now we have 
reached empire we have lost what we had before 2 ? ' But he, too, 
said * nothing is meaner, indeed more heartless, than to nibble at 
the property of the State without adding to it by one's own 
efforts 3 / He gave lavishly of his own property but cut down the 
salary of the lyric poet Mesomedes. Content with little, with 

1 For texts see Pros. Imp. Rom. i, pp. 309 sqq. 9 1 18 sqq. 9 especially the 
life of Pius; Marcus Aurelius, Med. i, 16, vi, 30, Fronto's letters, Dio 
txix-LXX. The inscriptions are collected by W. Huttl, Antoninus Pius n, 
-who does not, however, give the evidence of literature or papyri nor that 
of coins, which last provide very abundant evidence not only from the Empire 
currency (see p. 330 n. i) but also from that of Alexandria (J. Vogt, Alex. 
Kaiser mim^m, i, pp. 1 1 1 sqq^) and the cities of Syria and Asia Minor 
(C. Bosch, Die Khinasiatischen Munzen der rom. Kaiser%eit y n, i). 

a S.H.A. Pius, 4, 8. * Ib. Pius, 7, 7. 


small care for personal comfort, laborious, with a simple goodness, 
cheerful with an unaffected dignity, caring for integrity and piety, 
careful to save men and not to destroy them, bearing unjust 
censure without reply, calmly above calumny, he tested men by 
their character and their acts without distrust, without malice 
or ready censure. The loyal master of his servants, in honour 
exigent to fulfil his devoir, he strove from his chosen retreat 
to fashion the world so far as his duty claimed it of him. 

But even there he did not as an autocrat or even with strong 
initiative rely upon his own powers, sure instinct and sound 
judgment. Never, so we are expressly told, did he allow any act 
of State to have effect until he had consulted his * Friends' and 
had been guided by their views. This makes it hard to reach a 
decisive verdict on his personal share in the fortune of the Empire* 
Whether even his speeches were of his own composing was, it 
seems, a topic for jesting doubts; there are stories of pert sayings 
which he did not resent. This is proof of his kindliness to all the 
world, of his easy good nature towards his kindred and friends, with 
whom he did not cease, when emperor, to go fishing, hunting, 
making holiday for the vintage. He loved the simple pleasures 
of a simple citizen, admired actors, gave honour and good pay 
to rhetoricians, philosophers and grammatici because their labours 
were useful, though he had no touch of Hadrian's zeal to conquer 
the world of ideas, of knowledge and of culture. When the 
emotional Marcus Aurelius broke down in tears at the death of 
his teacher, and the palace servants would check his abandonment 
to grief, Antoninus found a word of sensible human comfort 
c Permittite illi ut homo sit; neque enim philosophia vel imperium 
tollit adfectus 1 ' ; nor did he lack a witty mocking thrust to bring 
to heel the haughty tutor of the young prince 2 . In such anecdotes 
is mirrored the character that can be detected as clearly in his acts 
of State, the humana cimlitas^ the aristocratic detachment of the 
rich Roman no trace of Hadrian's daemonic restlessness. 

His official career was not less significant of his character. After 
helping to manage the family property he won the name of a 
lavish quaestor and a magnificent praetor. In his thirty-third year 
(A.D. 120) he became consul along with Hadrian's powerful friend 
Catilius Severus. Probably three years before, he married Annia 
Galeria Faustina whose brother, M. Annius Verus, was to be the 
father of the future Emperor Marcus Aurelius, whom at Hadrian's 
wish he himself adopted. Through these connections he became 
the friend of Hadrian who advanced him thus early to high office. 
1 S.H.A. Pws, 10, 5. 2 Ib. Pius, 10, 4. 


He was made one of the four consular iuridici who judged matters 
of inheritance, guardianship and jideicommissum^ in the towns of 
Italy, a duty which, doubtless not against his will, he discharged 
in the regions where his estates lay. In A.D. 1345 after the usual 
interval from his consulship he became, like his grandfather 
Arrius sixty years before, proconsul of Asia, where he emulated 
and it was said even surpassed, as no one else had done, that 
eminent administrator. 

Thrust into the microcosm of Asia Minor with its competing 
jealousies and no less its new panhellenic movement, he may have 
felt the effect of its ferment of life, stirred and excited by the 
forceful directness of Hadrian and his way of mastery and govern- 
ing. He may have yielded to its influence, as when he endured 
patiently the brusque inhospitality of the pompous rhetorician 
Polemo 1 , or he may have chosen in quiet devotion to an ancient 
ideal to fulfil his duty aloof and unmoved* After Hadrian's return 
from the Jewish War, Antoninus was made a member of his 
concilium not only on grounds of friendship and family connection, 
but because of his experience as jurist and administrator. But 
his horizon had been limited. He had not governed one of the 
Imperial border provinces, had never had to do with the army: 
his way had lain in lands that had long been at peace and in the 
care of the Senate rather than of the princeps. Of the problems 
presented by the Northern and Eastern Fronts he can hardly have 
known more than he could learn from the discussions at Hadrian's 
court, in Rome, in Italy and in Asia Minor. He was no drastic 
imperialist like Trajan, nor was he even strongly drawn to Hadrian's 
all-pervading and imaginative width of interest. He was, as has 
been seen, a strange compound of the petit bourgeois and the Italian 
landowner, without ambition, without elasticity of mind or the 
passion for greatness, -without an instinct for movement, revolu- 
tion or daemonic energy. He was a tenacious conservative. 

More than that, he had been the closest witness of Hadrian's 
tragic collapse. The sight of that unquiet strength drained away 
to death could not well move him to desert his own quietude, 
even though he was certainly among those who were gravely stirred 
when the Emperor, with darkened judgment, adopted Ceionius 
Commodus to be locum tenens for his young nephew Annius Verus, 
and marked him out for the succession. But his unambitious, 
unsuperstitious mind could not be stirred to trust signs and 
wonders that proclaimed, so ran the rumour, his divine summons 

1 Philostratus, Fitae Soph. i 25, 3. 


to the throne. He did nothing to cross the will of Heaven. When 
Hadrian, in his mortal sickness, summoned, on 24 January 138, 
the most respected senators to the Palace and saw him come 
supporting the steps of his aged father-in-law, the senior consular, 
he was touched by this filial piety. But it was not this that decided 
Hadrian ; he had already made his choice and now he announced 
it and carried it through in the face of the egotistical plans of 
Catilius Severus though he too was near enough akin to the boy 
Annius. He declared his intention to make Antoninus his son, 
but laid on him the duty of adopting, on his part, Annius, now 
nearly seventeen years old and the son of Aelius Caesar, a boy of 
about eight. Further, he urged him to betroth his daughter to 
Annius, which made it plain that he wished by every means to 
secure him the precedence for the succession over the young 
Aelius. He sought to make the way sure for the Spanish line till 
far in the future. But would Antoninus consent to play this r&le ? 
His personality was known to Hadrian. He was not the 'best/ 
but he was the richest man in Rome and all his wealth would come 
to the rich Annius, in whom the broken Emperor saw the man who 
would be optimus Verissimus, as he named him at this time. 
Antoninus asked for time for reflection, whether in feigned 
modesty or from secret reluctance, like a second Tiberius. And 
then, by his consent to the double adoption and the betrothal, 
he saved the throne for the Spanish coterie. From 25 February 
138 the day on which the legal formalities were completed 
he was co-regent as Imp. Titus Aelius Caesar Antoninus trib* fot, 
cos. His name expressed the tie with his adopted father Hadrian 
and his grandfather Antoninus, and he revealed how strongly his 
nature responded to this ideal, though the two figures of Hadrian 
and Antoninus were more and more to strive^ for mastery in him. 
It is significant that, down to the fourth century when Hadrian's 
memory was dim, the 25th February was celebrated at Lorium 
as the birthday of the rule of all the Antonines. 

The adoption found the usual response in the Empire in praise 
of his devotion as son and loyal colleague of his father. When 
Hadrian a few weeks later moved to Baiae, he stayed in Rome in 
charge of the government* though of his acts few traces are left. 
Then, as Tiberius had done, he hastened to his father's deathbed. 
On 10 July 138 Hadrian's death left him de facto sole ruler. He 
was nearly fifty-two, and still younger than Tiberius, and this 
stop-gap emperor retained his charge for longer than Trajan and 
Hadrian, longer even than Tiberius. But the patient Marcus 
Aurelius did not find twenty-three years too long to wait, for when 


Antoninus died on 7 March 1 6 1 the son was no more than forty 
and in the fullness of manhood. 

The filial piety of the new ruler was quickly shown. His 
father's body was brought from Puteoli to Rome and laid in its 
tomb beyond the Tiber. The State funeral and consecration, 
which bestowed on Antoninus the authority that went with the 
position of Divi filius^ was decreed by the Senate which wished 
to annul Hadrian's acta^ only after he had expended himself 
in urgent pleading and in threats and had consented to the release 
of senators whom his predecessor had arrested. This was shrewd 
policy, and his zeal for fietas^ the spring of man's right conduct 
too towards gods, parents and dead alike, earned him the name 
of PIUS, which he bore, amid the applause of the world, next after 
his title ' Augustus/ 

From 139 onwards he added the title * pater patriae/ which he 
had at first, like Hadrian, refused and then accepted earlier than 
his predecessor had done. His full name * Imperator Titus Aelius 
Caesar Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius Pater Patriae' (138 
9) acknowledged his adoptive father and his grandfather and, with 
* Imperator Caesar Augustus Pater Patriae/ Augustus the proto- 
type of Roman Imperial rule: he united their intrinsic properties 
and as Pius enriched them further. His victory over the Senate 
not only gave him the sanction of divine descent, but enabled 
him to fix the picture the world was to have of him and of his 
less worthy successors. Before two years had passed he set on 
his coins the short form * Antoninus Augustus Pius,' which thus 
detached him from his predecessor. Once only, in 1501, when 
he dedicated the Temple of Divus Hadrianus, he, and the Senate 
with him, resumed the full form of his name and had it inscribed 
on coins for the following months. 

One thing else is significant and of consequence because the 
principle was rigorously carried through. On the Imperial 
currency 1 issued by the Emperor his consulships appear 2 , as did 
those of Hadrian on his coins, but he went beyond him in assuming 
a fourth consulship, and at the same time he set himself above all 
other consulars, none of whom held the office more than twice. 
His son, Marcus Aurelius Caesar Augusti Pii filius, was an ex- 

1 For all references and allusions on the Empire currency see Mattingly 
and Sydenham, Roman Imperial Coinage y in, pp. I sqq.> Strack, Reichs- 
pragungy m, pp. i sqq. with a complete catalogue of all existing types, a work 
which thanks to the author's kindness has here been used while still in MS. 
as a basis. For the titles, etc. see also the material collected by Hiittl, op. cit. 

2 Cos. des. till i Jan. 139; cos. n in 1395 cos. in from 140 to the end of 
1441 cos. mi from 145 to 161. 


ception, attaining a third consulship in I6I 1 , when he was forty 
years old, together with his adoptive brother, L. Aurelius Verus, 
who at the age of about thirty became consul for the second time, 
a visible sign of his second place. In 1434 and at times later 
Pius records his second acclamation as imperator^ as Hadrian had 
done, though not on his coins, since 135. But at first on the coins 
he made as little use as his predecessor had done of the tribunicia 
potestas in counting the years of his reign. Then at the completion 
of his first decade there suddenly appears his tenth tribunicia 
potestas (from December 10, 146 to December 9, 147), and the 
series continues to the twenty-fourth tenure in 160 i, by which 
time the like tenures of Marcus Aurelius had reached fifteen. 

In 139 he had given to Marcus the name of Caesar and made 
him consul designate. In the next year, as his colleague in the 
consulship, he betrothed him to his daughter, who on her 
marriage in 145 received the name of Augusta. On the birth of 
their first child in 146 Aurelius was granted the tribunicia potestas .> 
to run from December 10, and proconsular imperium without the 
city. Now Aurelius was recognized as Pius* colleague in rule, 
and the hopes of Rome and the fortunes of the dynasty rested 
upon him. As Vespasian and Titus had counted their years to- 
gether, so now it was made clear to all by the parallel office of Pius 
and Marcus that the regime had attained a stability hitherto 
unknown. What made this clearer was the steady though secondary 
advancement of L. Verus. After minor distinctions he attained 
the consulship at the age of twenty-four, and finally, at the end of 
1 60, Rome witnessed an unparalleled instance of concord 2 in 
the Imperial house when both the Emperor's sons were appointed 
consuls together for the next year, Marcus for the third time, 
Verus for the second. Thus Verus 7 position also in the State was 
marked out. 

It is plain to see how far Pius went his own way. First he speaks 
of * aequitasj 'feKcitas* and 'fides' as the guiding principle of his 
rule: the Senate stressed the ideas of peace, the acceptance of the 
Pontificate, the care for the poor of Rome. It did not even now 
admit its defeat over the consecration of Hadrian, but aequitas 
offered a formula for agreement. In 139 the oppositions have 
disappeared and these ideas have been harmonized. Now that 

1 He appears as cos. des. in 1395 cos. on Pius' coins in 140; then after 
he received the right to strike coins himself in 144 as cos. des. n, froin 145 
to 1 60 as cos. ii ; at the end of 160 as cos. des. in; 161 as cos. in. 

a Cf. Strack, op. cit. Catalogue no. 1200 with Vogt, op. cit. 11, p. 90, 
(of like date). 


Plus has taken the title * pater patrlae 9 the Senate speaks of 'good 
success/ of the Felicitas and Salus of the ruler, of the Libertas 
puHica that leads to Security. The Emperor, too, cares for the poor 
as for Victory and Peace, but he dedicated the Clupeus virtutum 
to Hadrian and consecrated the temple of Divus Hadrianus 
in the Campus Martius 1 , and a temple at Puteoli and established 
games in his honour, flamines and the Sodalitas Hadrianalis 
almost as Tiberius had once done for Augustus. On the Senate's 
coins the dead Emperor still finds hardly a mention. But a series 
that belongs to this time shows the representatives of the nationes^ 
Africa, Alexandria, Armenia, Asia, Cappadocia, Dacia, Spain, 
Mauretania, Parthia, Phoenicia, Scythia, Sicily, Syria, and recalls 
the great proclamation of two years before which extolled Hadrian 
and his activity in all the provinces and on behalf of all their 
peoples (pp. 323, 336). The Temple of Divus Hadrianus is to unite 
them all, a visible symbol of his achievement and of Roman 
pre-eminence in the world. But unsolved problems of foreign 
policy were posed by the dependency of Armenia, by Parthia, still 
in theory a dependency, and by Scythia (p. 313). Was Phoenicia 
to be entirely separated from Syria 2 , did Alexandria seek even 
greater prominence ? 

Thus the Emperor resumed ideas that had been Hadrian's, 
and like his predecessor he remitted the whole aurum coronarium 
in Italy, the half of it in the provinces. But he and the Senate 
bethought them of his ancestors and honoured the home of his 
father's family in southern Gaul 3 ? and completed the buildings 
that Hadrian had begun in Rome, in Capua and elsewhere. The 
world set great hopes on him, and everywhere cities and private 
people began to honour him as their benefactor and set up statues 
to him and to his house. Ephesus, where he had resided as gover- 
nor of Asia, declared that 'by common consent of the whole world 
the most divine and pious Imperator Titus Aelius Antoninus 
had assumed the sovereignty given to him by his father and re- 
stored to health the whole race of mankind 4 / In the following 
years the chorus of laudation in the Empire swells in homage to 
the 'best and greatest,' the 'best and most reverend,' the 'most 
god-fearing and man-loving' princeps, the 'holiest of all times/ 
the 'greatest and most visible of gods.' These phrases, which had 
meaning when they were used of Hadrian, possessed some reality, 

1 H. Lucas, Arch. Jahrb. 1901, pp. I sqq.*, Jordan-Htilsen, Topographie 
der Stadt Rom In Altertum, r, 3, pp. 608 sqq* 

2 See Weber, Untersuchungen, p. 233 sq. 3 Hiittl, op. cit f pp. 283 sqq* 
4 O.GJ.S. 4935 Htittl, op. cit. p. 351 sq. 


but In great part were little more than the expression of an age 
that was becoming more and more given up to sentiment without 
ideas behind It, far removed from the Emperor's own dry style 
as shown in what remains of his edicts, letters and decisions at law. 

Spoilt by Hadrian., the whole world pressed on Antoninus with 
petitions and demands of every kind, and there is clear evidence 
that he satisfied many of them. Rome and Ostia, Lanuvlum and 
Tarquinii, Lorium and Caieta, Antium and Terracina, Capua 
and Puteoli and other places In Campania or south Italy all owed 
buildings to him. Athens, small cities of Greece and the islands, 
Ephesus and distant country towns In Asia Minor, cities of Syria 
and Alexandria, nor less of Africa and the Latin West and North 
as far as the Black Sea enjoyed his bounty. Baths and temples 
were restored or built. Not only In Italy and Narbonese Gaul but 
also in Gallia Lugdunensis, Upper Germany, Pannonia, Syria and 
Numidia he had roads made or repaired- In Rome, Narbo, 
Carthage and Antloch he made good the damage done by fires. 
Rhodes and Cos, the cities of southern Asia Minor and Cyzicus 
that had been visited by two severe earthquakes received help 
from the State. He induced the rich to make benefactions, but 
he also was generous with his own resources 1 . Like his prede- 
cessor, he regarded it as Rome's duty to provide and maintain 
employment. In the work on the frontier, the building of the new 
castella on the Antonine Wall In northern Britain (p. 336) and of 
a number on the Upper German limes^ and repairs and restoration 
in other parts of the Empire he was continuing and completing 
his father's policy. 

The panegyric of Aelius Aristides was as true of him as of 
Hadrian. But there was a difference. Hadrian had made the 
power and beneficence of the emperor everywhere felt and realized 
by his presence; in north-west and in south-east, in villages as In 
cities, the consciousness of the close bond between world-ruler 
and subjects, between individuals and peoples, became a living 
force, and all felt themselves members one of another, to whom 
Rome was no longer a burden to be borne. But the rule of An- 
toninus meant that they must once more look to Rome where the 
Emperor * sat so as to be able in fact to receive messages more 
quickly in the centre of the world 2 / As if, perhaps, in criticism 
of Hadrian's conception of his task, he sat like a beneficent spider 
at the centre of his web, power radiating steadily from him to the 
farthest bounds of the empire and as steadily returning to him 

1 Abundant evidence on this may be found In Huttl^ op. cit, passim. 

2 S.BLA. Pius, 7, 12. 


again. For the last time in Imperial history the Emperor was 
wholly one with Rome and its centralization. His subjects had 
nothing left them but appeals through the administration or 
special embassies that were costly. But what the ruler stood for 
was made fact. He slowed down the rotation of offices .' many men 
stayed at their posts two, three, four or more years, one of the 
Urban Prefects twelve, one of the Praetorian Prefects even eighteen. 
He treated them with fairness, solicitude, sometimes even in- 
dulgence, rewarded merit, and though his justice compelled him 
to punish when they had erred, he protected their children from 
sharing in their punishment. We can trace only a few slight 
changes in the magistracies or the army, and the division of Dacia 
into three in the summer of 1 59 is the only important measure of 
organization in the government of the provinces. He kept to 
his predecessor's policy, even in the admission of provincials to 
advancement and to the government itself. Paradoxically enough, 
he sought to secure the future of Italy and stress the unique 
position, the unending fortune of Rome, while all the time the 
provinces gained ground step by step. 

In lawgiving he was diligent, equitable and just 1 . Careful of 
the letter of the law, he was not loth to interpret it according to 
the spirit: in judging disputes between cities he showed sober good 
sense. He bade the Thessalian Koinon in the name of justice to 
begin by punishing the use of violence in disputes about owner- 
ship. He called on the provincial council of Baetica, in accordance 
with an old law, to exact an increased penalty for the premature 
forcible appropriation of the object of a dispute. He urged the 
governed of Baetica to be severe in prosecuting kidnappers, and 
he referred shipwrecked men who had been robbed to the cus- 
tomary naval code so far as it did not clash with Roman law. 
Antioch was instructed how to deal with a defendant who gave 
surety and the Koinon of Asia was given precise direction about 
the number of the physicians, rhetoricians, sophists and grammatici 
in the different-sized cities who were to be immune from public 
charges. He permitted the circumcision of the sons of Jews and 
forbade the persecution of Christians for their faith. Coloni 
Caesaris were granted direct appeal to the Emperor, minors were 
protected from criminal prosecution. When a deserter was handed 
over by his father he limited the punishment to loss of rank to 
spare the father the reproach of causing the son's execution. He 
sought to ensure a milder application of the law against the man 
who killed his wife for adultery, and the release of those unfit to 
1 For texts Hanel, Corpus legum> 10114; for inscriptions Hiittl, op. cit. 


work who had served ten years of penal labour in the quarries 
and still had relatives. He was inexorable against any master 
who killed his slave. Anyone who maltreated or starved or other- 
wise misused a slave was deprived of him, and in other decrees 
he made the laws of slavery more progressive. He sought to 
prevent the prosecution of conspirators, he made punishable the 
exhibition of an Imperial statue as a provocation, avoided con- 
fiscation, and imposed limits on the acceptance of bequests to the 
emperor. In all this as in many other edicts on the most diverse 
sides of the law, excerpts from which have been preserved, he 
showed himself far removed from the rigour of old-Roman con- 
ceptions of law and developed further the liberalism of Trajan and 

Under his equable rule 'all the provinces flourished.' By his 
strict economy he had accumulated at his death in the Treasury 
a sum stated to be 675 million denarii 1 . Though he insisted on 
moderation in the collection of tribute, and on nine occasions 
distributed to the People of Rome money or corn to a total value 
of 800 denarii to each recipient 2 , though he showed his liberality 
in not forgetting the soldiers, and spent large sums on games and 
shows of beasts, he was not only less profuse than his predecessors 
but also was a shrewd manager. Thusjn providing for the care of 
girls in honour of his dead wife Faustina he arranged, so far as 
can be seen, that it should mainly happen on his own estates 3 . His 
decree about debts 4 continued the policy of Hadrian, but it would 
have been more loudly acclaimed had it been as comprehensive as 
that of his predecessor. It was possible for Pius to be economical 
because Hadrian in his profusion had met countless needs and 
the world was in equilibrium. If the activity of Hadrian had 
quickened the pulse of the Empire, Antoninus let it grow steady 
of itself. The ruler was far away; his effect was due to the force 
and devotion of his officials. The governed were conscious of his 
remoteness, and made their own strength effective. Over all 
rested the brightness of a day in late summer. 

The prestige of Antoninus stood high throughout the world 5 . 

1 Dio LXXIII, 8, 3; Eutropius vm, 8. 

2 Marquardt-Dessau, Staatsverwaltung, n 2 , p. 138. 

3 CJ.L. xi, 5956 (of A.I>. 139 Pitinum Mergens), 5957 (A.D. 150 ib.) 9 
ix, 5700 (A,D. 149 Cupra Montana), x, 6002 (Sestinum): perhaps also 
xi, 5931 (A,D. 147 Tifernum Tiberinum), 5990 (Tifernum Mataurense); 
cf. Huttl, op. cit. pp. 281, 269; Mominsen, Staatsrecht, n 3 , p, 1079 sq. 

^ A. Graf von Stauffenberg, TJnters* z, Chronik de$ Malalas^ pp. 318 $qq+ 
5 See von Rohden, of. cit. col. 2507. 


Embassies came to him from India, Hyrcania and Bactria, but 
they were of slight moment since the Eastern policy of the Empire 
renounced any offensive. He increased the domains of the King 
of the Caucasian Iberi, who visited him in Rome. He gave kings 
to the Lazae in Colchis, to the dependent Armenians and to the 
Quadi and admitted them afresh to allegiance. A letter from him 
sufficed to stay Vologases II of Parthia from an attack on Armenia; 
his 'authority* caused Abgar VIII of Osrhoene to evacuate 
Armenia; he refused to give up to Vologases III the sacred throne 
which Trajan had carried off, and his firmness ensured peace until 
the closing months of his reign. But although he thus maintained 
the symbol of Parthian dependence on Rome, there was no return 
to the Eastern policy of Trajan. To Antoninus the Empire needed 
no further conquests. He decided between claimants to the 
throne of the Bosporan realm whose king was 'amicus Caesaris 
et populi Romani,' and supported the people of Olbia against 
the Scythians. All this continued Hadrian's policy of conciliation, 
but with a difference. Hadrian threw himself into the task and 
built up the basis from which this distant influence could be 
exerted, Pius used up and did not add to the Empire's reserves* 
While he sought peace from inertia, he justified it with the plea 
of Scipio and Augustus that *he would rather save the life of one 
citizen than slay a thousand enemies 1 / but they had other motives, 
and it may be that the Empire itself suffered from his passivity. 
His desire to avoid wars did not save him from them, and success 
was due to his lieutenants, not to the Emperor who stayed in his 
palace at Rome. 

The Empire coinage of A.D. 1389 reveals the danger of war. 
As at the beginning of Hadrian's reign, so now, there were move- 
ments afoot at all the four corners of the empire. In Britain the 
Brigantes once more broke in, pouring across Hadrian's Wall, 
but were defeated thanks to the c help of the gods ' and the * loyalty 
of the soldiers/ The victory was the work of Lollius Urbicus, 
the new governor of the province, and the Emperor received from 
it his second acclamation as Irnperator. The strengthening of the 
empire's defences on the north-west by the AntonineWall (p. 333) 
which Lollius carried through is significant as the necessary con- 
sequence of this invasion and victory. From A.D. 145 onwards 
the coin-types of almost every year suggest wars and victories. 
In 14552 and also towards the end of the reign there was serious 
fighting in Mauretania Caesariensis and Tingitana, in which a 
detachment of the Sixth Legion Ferrata from Judaea and cavalry- 

1 S.BLA* Piu$ 9 9, 10, 


formations from Spain, Germany and Pannonla were engaged, 
The coins of 152 reveal the peace Imposed on the rebels by the 
Emperor, who celebrated an Qvatio for his victory. There is 
evidence for a victorious war over Germans, but it is hardly 
possible to decide whether this is to be connected with the building 
of castella on the Upper German limes that belongs to about 146. 

To the years after 152 may be assigned various conflicts, the 
Jewish Rebellion, a rising in Achaea (both of unknown date and 
extent), an insurrection of the Egyptian fellaheen which in 1523 
seriously endangered the corn-supply of Rome and led to riots 
in which the Emperor risked being stoned and was reduced to 
making a largesse of wine, oil and meal to the poor at his own 
expense. It was not till 1 54 that the * concordia' of Nile and Tiber 
and the securing and peace of Rome, thanks to Fortune and the 
world-ruler, were commemorated. In 155 there seems to have 
been another victory in Britain to judge from the types of Mars, 
Hercules, Felicitas and, strangely enough, of the * loyalty of the 
armies' perhaps there had been a mutiny in the province. In 
the next year Juppiter appears as victor, and the coins again show 
the ' loyalty of the armies ' and Victory and Peace, the providence 
of the gods securing for Pius Rome's mastery of the world. The 
literary tradition 1 records other conflicts, with the Alani, on the 
Borysthenes, on the Red Sea, which cannot be dated, and in the 
years 157 and 158 operations against Dacian tribes by the troops 
of the province with detachments from Africa and Mauretania. 
In 1 5 9, the year in which the Emperor's wcennalia were tardily 
celebrated, there was peace, but in 160 i, despite the praises 
of Felicitas Saeculi and Peace, there were warlike alarms, for 
Roma, Mars and Juppiter are hailed as victorious powers. Risings 
in Africa in which the Virtus of Marcus Aurelius, that had been 
honoured in 156 and 15 9, proved itself, ended in 1 60 with a victory 
for the Roman arms. All this is proof that it was no age of lasting 
peace, that there was not only unrest without the empire but 
stress within it. It was peace where there was no peace, even if 
men did not wake from the dream of a Golden Age 2 , 

Fortune herself was made the Emperor's obedient follower. 
He was named Pius, for like the phoenix he had cared for his 
father's consecration 3 . This was to be proof that a new Saeculum 
had begun: at his second consulship he was hailed as optimus 

1 S.H.A. Pius, 5, 4 sqq. 

2 For the Empire coins cf. Mattingly-Sydenham, op. cit. and Strack, op. cit* 
in; also Vogt, op. cit. i, p. 125 sq., II, pp. 63, 72 sqy. 

3 Strack, op. cit. 11, pp. 55 sqy. 

C.A.H. XI 22 


princeps^ and the year as blessed and happy. But when on July 20, 
139, the Sothic period In Egypt was fulfilled so that a new cycle 
began 1 , hopes turned to the future. Alexandria celebrated the 
Emperor as the all-guiding Pantheos Helios-Zeus-Ammon (/.*., 
Re-Amun), the lord of the new world-Era, the great bestower of 
fruitfulness. After the dark period of Mars and the god of the 
Underworld Hadrian 2 he began to appear as the god of light. In 
Rome the notes of libertas publica and salus Populi were struck 
and rose to a crescendo when Pius at last completed and dedicated 
the temple of Roma Aeterna and Venus Felix 3 which Hadrian 
had begun. The ruler under divine providence, who cared for 
Italy and its renewing 4 , removing the juridid so that the old 
municipal rights were restored, turned the thoughts of the Romans 
to their primitive past, to its myths and divination and to the age 
of gold. Ilium, whence the city had its birth, was granted privileges, 
while he founded a new Pallantium in honour of the Arcadian 
city whence all that was Greek had sprung 5 . Thus Panhellenism 
received a new impulse, but Rome still more 6 . A wave of archaism 
swept over Rome and the Greek East. Senate and People hailed 
Antoninus as 'best and greatest princeps^ the most beneficent 
and just for his eminent care of the State cults and for his devout- 
ness (religio^* Many compared him with King Numa 8 . 

In Alexandria, which added to all this the reference to the phoenix 
as the harbinger of the new Saeculum, the Prefect of Egypt, who 
as praefectus annonae at Rome had felt the magic of this worship 
of the past 9 , caused Pius* entry on his fourth consulship on January 
i, 145 to be celebrated in an especial way. Beside the Egyptian 
and Greek gods appeared the signs of the zodiac as rulers of the 
season. In A.D. 141 Hercules, the benefactor of mankind, had been 
advanced in honour; now the rule of the optimus princeps and the 
new year of happiness and blessing that his consulship was to 
bring to the capital were thus made to rest on the domination of 
the constellations at their fortunate conjunction by the Alexan- 
drian divinities Sarapis and Isis, Helios and Selene. The harmony 
of seasons and the world's course, of the Universe and govern- 
* * Vogt, op. cit. i, pp. 113 sqq. 2 See above p. 306. 

3 Strack, op. cit. u, pp. 175 sqq. 4 CJ.L. xi, 805 (=== Htttd, 227). 

5 Pausanias vox, 43; Weber, GStt. GeL ~dnz. 1908, pp. 962, 977; 
Drei Untersuchungen xur aegyptisch.-griechischen Religion, p. 27, 

6 Vogt, op. cit. I 3 pp. 120 sqq. 

7 CJ.L. vr, loor. 8 S.H.A. Pius, 13,45 Eutropius vm, 85 
Fronto, Princ. Hist. p. 206 N. 

9 See Htittl, op. cit, pp. 7 sqq, for Valerius Proculus; for the coins of 145 
see Vogt, op. cit, 11, pp, 69 sqq. j cf. i, pp. n6sqq. See Volume of Plates V, 128. 


ment on earth were taught by the astronomers and astrologers 
and accepted by men, before whose belief even Rome must bow. 
Alexandria in the years of the primi decennales hailed the Em- 
peror anew as the world-redeemer Hercules, and loyally shared 
in celebrating the victories that stirred Rome. But, even if in 139 
Alexandria had failed to make good its claims (p. 332)3 now it 
was perhaps presumption that Sarapis appears in the chariot as 
triumphaior in celebrating the victory in Britain. Alexandrian 
coins show no reference to the Nine-hundredth-year celebration 
of the founding of Rome which coincided with the beginning of 
the second decade of Pius' reign 1 , but in the Roman Empire 
coinage also there is hardly a hint of this conjunction of events or 
cycles of years. And apart from regular symbols or the record 
of current events such as the festival of the restoration of the 
temple of Divus Augustus at the beginning of the Emperor's 
third decade, these show no signs of living significance. The same 
is true of the coinage of Alexandria, but the insurrection in Egypt 
and the 'concord 7 between Nile and Tiber 2 alike betray how 
dangerous it might possibly be to the People of Rome and its 
daily bread. In the East on every side the sun-religion advanced 
ever more potently. In Rome itself and in the West offerings 
for the Emperor's preservation were made to the Magna Mater 
and to Juppiter Dolichenus. Nothing is heard of the cult of Rome, 
and the Panhellenic movement sank into a dream. The divinities 
of the East pressed on irresistibly from Egypt and Asia Minor, 
Mithras and Dolichenus, the sun god and the Christ; and with 
them Astrology. Philosophers sought new answers to life's 
riddles, unblinded by the brilliance of the material civilization 
of the time. We look in vain for the creative ideas of this quarter 
of a century during which Pius governed the world from Rome. 
He gave to the Senate what was the Senate's, he maintained the 
fair show that he was the 'ampliator civium/ the new optimus 
princepSy a Numa and the protector of the Greek basis of European 
culture. All this he did, but his sitting like a spider in the middle 
of the delicate web that covered the vast empire was a danger to 
it more than a blessing. After a short illness he died in peace, 
full of days, at Lorium on March 7, 161, in the dreams of his 

1 Aurelius Victor, Caes* xv, 4, A.D. 147 (c Tacitus, Ann. xi, n for 
Claudius) 3 whereas Philip the Arabian has this festival in A.IX 248, the 
usual view would have it advanced to A.IX 1423 and would make the coins 
of this date evidence for it, though these are sufficiently explained by the 
dedication of the Rome and Venus temple (see above, p. 338, n, 3). 

2 Vogt, op. cit. n, p. 8 1 ; c i, p. 129, 


delirium * still speaking of the State and of the kings he was 
angered at/ and he took the peace and quiet of the Empire with 
him into his grave, into his temple as a fair aspiration for the 



'As the Salian priests were once casting the customary rose- 
garlands on the banquet-couch of the god in the temple of 
Mars, the crown of the young Marcus Aurelius fell upon the head 
of the god's statue just as though he carefully had placed it there 1 / 
This was taken as an omen of future rule, strangely enough the 
only sign that Rome discovered of the gods' early favour towards 
the most devout of emperors. It was the divine will that the man 
who did this homage to the god of the Imperial house should 
become a member of it. But was not this same Mars Ultor also 
the god of war and the army? It is one of the great paradoxes of 
history that the kindliest, most selfless of men, who acted only 
*in accordance with reason,' modest to receive, ready to renounce, 
who held it the lot of a ruler to do good and be requited with 
ingratitude, was fated in nineteen years of his reign to give place 
to Mars, to die in his winter-quarters on the northern border of 
the empire. He had written 'A spider when it has caught a fly 
thinks it has done a great deed, so does one who has run down 
a hare, another who has caught a sprat in his net, another when he 
has taken a boar or a bear, another when he has captured Sar- 
matians. If you probe into the reasons for their acts, are they 
not all robbers* r On him came war in the East, war over all the 
North, domestic treason, everywhere disturbance and unrest, the 
terrible plague that swept away peoples, the bankruptcy of cities 
and of the rich. It was as though a mysterious night descended 
on the bright day. This very Emperor, who pronounced with such 
logic upon his own hunting of wretched Sarmatians, amid it all 
desired and dreamed of quietude, of serenity, of a life of action 
consonant with the universe, of the harmony of the world-order. 

Note. The literary tradition for the reign of Marcus Aurelius is to be 
found in the Scriptores Historiae Augustae Marcus Antoninus, Ferns, 
Avidius Cassius, and Commodus Antoninus and Dio LXX i. For the coins, 
winch supply further evidence, see Mattingly and Sydenham, Roman Imperial 
Coinage, vol. m, pp. 1943555 Strack, Reichspragung der II Jahrhunderts, 
in; J. Vogt a Die alexandrinischen Kaisermun%en, n, pp. 64 sqq., i, pp. 122 sq. 
See also Volume of Plates v, 1 30. 

1 S.H.A. Marcus, 4, 3. 2 Marc. Aur. Med. x, 10, 


Born on 26 April 121 of the Spanish family of the Annii 
Veri, Marcus 1 did not know Spain but grew up in Rome in the 
circle of Hadrian's friends. When only six years of age he was 
notably signalled out for admission to the Salian priesthood by 
the Emperor, who set on him such hopes as Augustus had set 
on his grandson Gaius Caesar, and Hadrian, more fortunate than 
Augustus, was able to ensure to him the succession, though he 
did not forget the son of Aelius, as Augustus did not forget his 
younger grandson Lucius. There was much in the lad to attract 
Hadrian, His nature was simple, direct, quietist, without any 
keen penetration or depth of thought, any moving, stirring ap- 
preciation of life. Trained to bear bodily fatigues patiently, con- 
tented with the most modest satisfaction of his needs, he neither 
valued nor sought anything save sincere self-understanding and 
expression and truth. The Emperor found for the young Annius 
Verus in jest the word 'Verissimus/ Under the spell of the lad's 
untainted nature, the lonely ageing Hadrian was loyal to him and 
designed him, in the ripeness of his powers, to be fulfiller of his 
own work. As he himself had once done, so now Marcus longed 
for knowledge and culture, and all that was needed was the right 
teaching. During twenty years of steady learning, pursued often 
at the cost of injury to his health, Marcus absorbed the potency 
of two cultures. In his passionate embracing of the things of the 
mind he did not seek to 'dangle after' poetry or rhetoric but by 
* living according to nature* to be perfected as a man. Twenty-five 
teachers, the best of the day, grammatid and rhetoricians, philo- 
sophers of different schools, jurists, even a painter, among them 
men from Africa, Asia Minor, even Palestine, helped in his 
education. He was devoted and loyal to them: decades later in 
his Meditations^ as he set out, as it were, the anatomy of his 
intellectual being, he did not fail to mention most of them, and 
to acknowledge the power of their teaching and example. 

Antoninus Pius adopted him together with Lucius Aelius. He 
alone became Caesar, consul at nineteen (earlier still than 
Augustus) and again at twenty-four, and after hardly two years 
more, as consort of his cousin Faustina * Augusta,' son-in-law of 
his adoptive father and censors imperil. He reached this eminence 
younger than any one before, while Lucius, if only by reason of 
his youth, was denied such advancement. For twenty-three years 
Marcus lived at the Emperor's side, and for almost fifteen he was 

1 On his birth, childhood, youth and the period to A.D. 1 6 1 see von Rohden 
in P.W. s.v, Annius (94), cols. 2281'^.; J. Schwendemann, Der histortsche 
Wert der vita Marci bet den Script. Hist. Aug: pp. I sqq. . 


his closest helper. Long afterwards he named himself. In devotion, 
Antoninus' pupil 1 . In conscientious application to his high task, 
he cared no more than Pius had cared to "play the emperor/ 
as manful to face his duty as he was gentle to his kin. As the years 
taught him to know, to despise or to love the ways of men, to 
meditate upon the mutability of life, upon rulership on earth and 
the divine ordering of the world, he cherished tenderly and 
vigorously tested again and again the nature that he attributed 
to the gift of the gods that passed to him from his own ancestors 
and his teachers, from Pius and his life of selflessness. He longed 
to be, like Pius, so prepared 'that his last hour might find his 
conscience clean' 

Antoninus appointed the two brothers to be consuls together 
in 1 6 1 , Marcus, then forty, for the third time, Lucius, ten years 
younger, for the second (p. 331). Thus were made manifest his 
own loyalty to Hadrian's wishes and the concord that bound him 
to his sons and them to each other. No more than three months 
after they entered office, Pius died, on 7 March. At the end he 
commended Marcus to his friends and the Prefects of the Guard 
as his successor and caused the gold statue of Fortune that he 
worshipped to be transferred to Marcus' room and gave to the 
officer of the day the password ' aequanimitas? All he had the 
right to do he had done: the rest was for others to bring to pass. 
Marcus, now head of the family, took the cognomen Antoninus 
and 'as if his father 2 ' conferred on his brother that of the Veri, so 
that Pius and the Veri were perpetuated in their names. A few 
months later, on August 3 1 , twins were born to him and received 
the names of his brother and father as L. Aurelius Commodus 
and T. Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus. It was the first of them who 
gave the name Commodus its lasting place in history. 

March 7, 1 6 1 brought a new situation 3 . Not even at the death 
of Augustus or of Vespasian were such powers concentrated In 
the hands of their heirs. Now the two sons of Pius were consuls 
in office, the elder indeed the senior consular and in possession 
of the tribunicia potestas and the imperium proconsulare^ at once 
president and leader of the Senate and master of the armies, 
the treasuries and the provinces. All these powers did not cease; 
all that was needed was the Senate's recognition of him as the 
* first/ the princeps* The first meeting of the Senate took its 

1 Med. vi, 30. 

2 S.H.A. Marcus, 7, 7. 

3 See for the evidence for the first period von Rohden, op. cit. coL 2290 sq. 5 
Schweiidemann, op. cit* pp, 128 sqq. 


appointed course with the reading of the dead Emperor's will and 
the decrees for State mourning and the last honours. Of the 
issue of the second, which duly followed the public funeral, there 
could be no doubt. First came the unanimous decree for Pius' 
consecration and the establishment of the cult of the divus and 
his priesthood, and then the request that Marcus should assume 
as princeps the care of the State. With rigid adherence to ancient 
precedents he at first refused and then yielded to Compulsion' 
as Tiberius had done, and took for himself alone the title of 
Augustus that was offered to him. So was made apparent his 
modesty and unselfishness, worthy of the greatest altruists of 
Rome. He named his brother * Caesar * and must at once have 
proposed as consul the conferment on Verus of the name Augustus 
and the imperium proconsular. Did his purpose go beyond a 
co-regency? In fact he claimed everything for his brother, even 
the tribunicia potestas not merely to evade such carping criticism 
as Titus had to meet after Vespasian's death, but to fulfil what he 
believed to be the intention of Hadrian and to realize the harmony 
which a few months before had been so plainly proclaimed (p. 331)- 
More than that, it was to him the guiding principle of the world- 
order 1 , that, by the providence of the gods, those who had been 
recognized as 'best* by the wisest predecessors and were now 
acknowledged without demur or chicanery, should jointly in 
harmony care for the State. The Senate decreed the conferment 
on Verus of the imperium proconsulare and the title Augustus, 
which hitherto no man except the princeps himself had enjoyed. 
The tribunicia potestas was also voted in the Senate but conferred 
by the People some time later, as may be seen from the first issues 
of the Empire coinage. Whereas Marcus 7 coins continue to give 
the years of his tribunicia potestas as well as cos. ///, those of Verus, 
though they give the accession-name Imperator Caesar L. Aurelius 
Verus Augustus corresponding to Marcus* Imperator Caesar M, 
Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, begin by giving cos, II alone and 
only later trib* pot. Finally, Marcus betrothed his daughter 
Lucilla to Verus, as he himself had once been betrothed to Pius' 
daughter (p. 331). The Guard and the armies in the provinces 
were promised donatives in proportion to their importance, a new 
endowment for the youth of Italy was made, and presently a 
bountiful largesse was distributed to the People. 

Thus on Marcus' initiative Rome and the Empire had for 
the first time and for nearly eight years two Augusti of equal rights. 
In not leaving his brother to take second place as he himself had 

1 Med. vn 55 and v 30* 


done he was moved by his affection for him, his belief in Verus ' 
worthiness and his view of his duty. As they were consuls together, 
each with full and undivided powers wherever he acted, so Verus 
was to be his consort in the great task of caring for the State with 
equal and undivided responsibility. Thus he deduced from the 
ancient institution of the consulship a new collegiality in the 
*cura rei publicae/ and kept within the limits of the old Roman 
ways of thinking. Piety, affection, conscientiousness, doctrinaire 
ideas led him, indeed astray. He alone had the high seriousness 
to bear a burden few indeed had rightly borne and the strength 
to be master of the situation. There was no opposition, and the 
world rejoiced to honour his fraternal affection, though It could not 
at first wholly adjust its ideas to the innovation and Indeed soon 
divined that a false step had been taken. Verus took his responsi- 
bility more lightly than his brother. He was indifferent, soft 
when he needed to be hard as steel, no match for any high task. 
Marcus was all helpfulness and consideration, self-effacing if so 
his brother might be honoured, careful to give no grounds for 
gossip, throughout all their joint rule patient and almost too 
yielding. Rarely enough he let some serious word betray the fact 
that he had borne the burden, not of responsibility alone but of 
laborious effort. In calm self-mastery he had no reproaches to 
make and spoke even in the Senate with restraint. He believed 
men * were made to work together/ that *to act against each other 
was against Nature/ Life was to him a coming and going, a 
torrent that was past in the twinkling of an eye 1 ; glory was nothing, 
and to learn a new way was no fault but was his right did he only 
stand * erect not erected' (opOov ovyl opdov^evov)* 'like a rock, on 
which the waves break and break, while it stands unmoved, and 
the flurry of the sea sinks to rest at its foot 3 / When Verus died 
eight years later, he claimed for him honour as divus and kept his 
memory. Nor was he made wiser; but later in his reign he 
advanced his son Commodus 4 , though step by step, to a like 
position (see below, pp. 349, 360^., 362) 5 , 

1 Med. iv, 43. 2 It. m, 55 vn, 12. 3 Ik. iv, 49. 

4 See von Rohden, op. at. col. 2302; J. M. Heer, Der historische Wert 
der vita Commodi y Philol. Suppl. ix, 1904, pp, 12^.; Schwendemann, 
op. cit. pp. 190 sqq. 

5 Caesar in 106 (then five years old), imperator, 176, cos. I, 177 and a 
few months later trib. pot., soon trtb. pot. n, finally in the summer of 177 
Augustus and pater patriae at the age of 1 6. 



Even on his deathbed Antoninus was visited by anxieties about 
the kings that had aroused his anger, and before he died troops 
were already marching to the Eastern Front. Few knew precisely 
how things stood on the frontiers. The coin-legends are of the 
'joy of the people/ the * happiness of the time,' of hilaritas^ when 
the twin-princes were born, of carefree * security/ The * providence 
of the gods* guided the Empire, and its peoples rejoiced in the 
harmony of its rulers. Marcus 'devoted himself wholly to philo- 
sophy and sought to win the affection of the citizens/ But the 
felicity of the hour was transient 1 . A serious flood of the Tiber 
which endangered the corn-magazines of Rome and a famine 
that spread misery through Asia Minor fell short of causing 
grave anxiety. But in the spring of 162 came a sudden threat of 
war in Britain, Chatti invaded Upper Germany and Raetia, and 
the Parthian king Vologases III declared war in due form. The 
local troubles in the North- West and on the Upper Rhine were 
quickly suppressed by the governors on the spot. But in the 
East war soon brought disaster. The Parthian general Osroes 
advanced into Armenia to place the Arsacid Pacorus upon the 
throne and the governor of Cappadocia was defeated and killed 
at Elegeia. The Syrian legions, demoralized by many years of 
peace, scattered before the enemy, who marched into the un- 
defended provinces and attacked the Syrian cities so that the 
inhabitants already had thoughts of defection from Rome. The 
war that Marcus had to face 2 was a just war. The Emperor's 
diligent teacher Fronto sought to dispel the scruples that beset 
his pupil. A plan of defence must be made. Was it the moment 
and were there the means to revive the eastern policy of Trajan 
that had slept for half a century ? In Athens men spoke of the 
new 'Persian war* and of 'Xerxes,* wishing victory and health 
to the 'divine and brother-loving rulers/ Marcus ordered troops 
to the seat of war from the North, from the Rhine and the Danube, 
from Africa and Egypt. With the Senate's approval he com- 
missioned Verus to set out for the East. He himself wished to 
stay at Rome for 'affairs in the City demanded his presence.' The 
reason was strange, perhaps only a pretext. Neither the flood nor 
any unrest meant serious danger or were beyond the capacity 

1 See von Rohden, op. dt. coL 2292, sq. ; Schwendemann, op, cit. pp, 1 35 $qq. 

2 For the chronology see C, H. Dodd in Num. Chron, 4th Ser. xi, 191 1, 
pp. 209 sqq.\ Schwendemann, op, cit. pp. 137 sqq+i von Rohden, op. cit. cols. 
2293 $qq.\ Ritterling in P.W. ssu. Legio, cols. 1297 *99* 


of any energetic deputy, Augustus had sent his co-regent, 
Antoninus had stayed at the world's centre. These examples may 
have moved him, but was that the logic of the situation ? The day 
was to come when he must leave the Eternal City for nearly as 
many years as Hadrian, and defend the Empire and the throne 
in the open field. 

Verus was set on his way by his brother, in the spring of 1625 
when the news of the collapse of the Eastern Front had already 
reached Rome. But he was not moved to haste: it would take 
time before the legion from Bonn reached the seat of war. He 
fell ill at Canusium, and stayed there till he was restored; in the 
autumn he travelled to Athens, was initiated in the Eleusinian 
mysteries and visited his teacher Herodes Atticus. Then came 
a leisurely progress from island to island and from city to city 
in western Asia Minor until he reached Antioch towards the 
spring of 163. By then the deployment of the Imperial forces 
was complete. The defeated and demoralized Syrian army had 
been re-organized mainly by an Eastern Syrian, the hard-bitten 
Avidius Cassius 1 . Officers of proved capacity were at Verus' 
disposal. But the enemy had long since drawn off, and he con- 
tented himself with his first success, the regaining of Armenia. 
The next task was the offensive from the Euphrates line. It is 
characteristic of Marcus and makes his refusal of the supreme 
command in this war yet more perplexing that, as he did not 
hesitate to tell the Senate after Verus* death, 'all the strategy that 
defeated the Parthians was of his own devising 2 / His principles 
did not forbid him to engage in a war of just retribution. He had 
not to be anxious about Rome but to dare, as he later dared. At 
the head of his armies in the heart of the East defending Hadrian's 
legacy of panhellenism against the * Persians/ he could have won 
for himself vast prestige. He had plainly studied the history of 
Rome's Eastern wars, appreciated the terrain and the problem 
and was able to devise and direct from Rome the correct strategic 
moves. In capacity and devotion to duty he surpassed Verus, who 
lacked all initiative and left his generals to act while he pursued 
his pleasures. He might have raised the Imperial authority high 
above the presumption of the ambitious and might have con- 
tinued and completed Trajan's policy to his own lasting glory* 
It was no lack of physical energy nor contempt of fame: in later 
years he shunned neither hardship nor his due meed of praise. 

1 See Pros. Imp. Rom. i 2 , p* 282, no. 1402. 

2 SJELA* Marcus, 20, 2. 


No one can say how his reason counselled him. In any event his 
belief in the guidance of the world allowed the seed to be planted 
from which was to spring the dangerous rising of Avidius Cassius 
that brought disillusionment in its train. Verus proved no general; 
it was his good fortune that the officers Marcus sent to serve under 
him were able enough, after the long canker of peace, to seize 
the chance of victory. Now as so often they upheld the imperial- 
istic policy of Rome, Nor was Verus less fortunate in that the 
Parthians were not stronger. 

In the early summer of 163 Statius Priscus 1 , who had won 
successes in Judaea and Britain, pressed swiftly into Armenia from 
Cappadocia. With his group of legions and auxilia he took and 
destroyed the capital Artaxata and founded and garrisoned a new 
city (Kaivvj ?ro)u$) thirty miles away. The Parthians did not 
defend what they had so quickly won the year before. Armenia 
was once more a dependency of Rome. Verus took the title 
'Armeniacus/ though Marcus waited till 164, when Statius 5 suc- 
cessor Martius Verus 2 pacified the country after new raids and 
gave to it a king by Rome's grace in Sohaemus 3 , a Roman senator 
born in Syrian Emesa. The offensive had followed Trajan's model 
in its inception and success, but its true purpose was defence, so 
that Armenia was not made a province but a dependent kingdom 
protected by Roman arms as under Hadrian and Pius. Verus had 
himself hailed as * Hercules Pacifer.' He prepared to make peace, 
and the world believed it was attained. At this very moment the 
harmony between the brothers was endangered. Marcus, not 
ignorant of Verus 1 unworthy conduct, sent his daughter and uncle 
to have the marriage celebrated at Ephesus and to set a monitor 
at his brother's side. But he did not venture himself to journey 
to Syria, and again flinched from provoking reproach, for his 
heart was set on concord. 

There was no peace. In the autumn of 1 64 one army group 
advanced from the Euphrates while detachments from the 
northern army pressed south into Osrhoene and Anthemusia in 
upper Mesopotamia. There were battles at Dausara, round Edessa, 
where the inhabitants massacred the Parthian garrison, and near 
Nisibis. The king Mannus Philorhomaios VIII, whom the Par- 
thians had driven out, was soon restored to Edessa. This thrust 
spelt danger to the western offensive of the Parthian main army 
now on the right bank of the Euphrates farther to the south and 

1 Pros. Imp. Rom. in, p. 269, no, 637. 

2 Ib. n, p. 350, no. 261. 

3 Ib. m, p. 251, no. 546. 


to Its retreat across the river* This was engaged with a third army 3 
probably the main Roman force under Avidius Casslus, that 
plainly was working with the central group. After a hard-fought 
victory near Doura, this army pursued the enemy, who retired 
downstream, defeated them again at Sura, crossed the river and 
took Nicephorium. The results of this strategical masterpiece 
whereby the enemy forces were rolled up from north to south, 
northern Mesopotamia occupied and the hostile main force 
destroyed, opened the way for an advance into south Mesopotamia, 
Now the armies spread fanwise. Avidius Cassius marched down 
the river; Seleuceia opened its gates; next came the royal capital 
Ctesiphon that was reduced by siege. Both cities were destroyed 
from considerations of security. Like Trajan he had pressed to 
the heart of Parthia and taken its capital. Once again the armies, 
of Rome had broken the hosts of Parthia; the satraps had soon 
been ready to change their overlords. The king of Parthia was 
a fugitive. The victory over his armies had conferred on Verus 
two salutations as imperator and the title 'Parthicus Maximus.* 
This name, too, Marcus declined at first, though as the author of 
the plan of campaign he had an essential right to it. He may have 
doubted whether the task was complete. In the next year much 
was achieved. The central government of the one great power of 
the East, the only organized State that challenged Rome, was 
destroyed, the whole country to the borders of Iran was defenceless 
before the attack of Roman armies. In 1 66 the forces in north 
Mesopotamia passed on beyond the Tigris into the highlands of 
Media so that Verus could receive a fourth imperatorial salutation 
and take the name * Medicus/ Before his exploits the generalship 
and modesty of Trajan seemed to pale, and he had an itch for 
titles; now Marcus also accepted this appellation. The peak of 
victory seemed to be reached. The moment had come for ever 
bolder advance and the clear perfecting of Trajan's achievement. 
Then suddenly the tide of fortune turned. In the autumn of 
165 a plague 1 visited Cassius* troops at Seleuceia and its ravages 
became more and more terrible until in the next spring the army 
had to retreat. Only remnants returned. To the god-ridden East 
and the terrified soldiers it seemed as though the divine powers 
of the country punished, where men had failed, the presumptuous 
invader, the perfidious destroyer of Seleuceia. The troops carried 
with them into Syria the fell disease, which spread over Asia 
Minor and Egypt, Greece and Italy and had entered Rome before 

1 For the great plague see von Rohden, op. cit. col. 2295; Schwendemann, 
op. cit. pp. 54 sqq. 


Verus had returned. Spreading misery and death in its progress 
it advanced to the Rhine and year after year carried desolation 
through the peoples of the Empire. But the honour of Rome's 
arms had been cleared by the vigorous offensive of her generals ; 
Cappadocia and Syria were secured, Armenia and Osrhoene with 
their kings and Roman garrison were again the glacis of the 
Empire. There could be no thought of annexing Parthia, nor do 
we hear of a Parthian king by the grace of Rome, That was beyond 
Marcus* purposes, as may be seen from his policy in the border 
States. The dualism of Rome and Ctesiphon remained. Verus 
might plume himself as * propagator imperil/ but the work of 
Trajan was not consummated. The time had come for peace in the 
Orient, and the plague embittered even the rejoicing at what 
had been achieved. Marcus, still unperturbed, received Verus, who 
left his generals to govern Cappadocia and Syria and returned, 
fSted by the Greek cities on his way. On October 12, 166 on the 
day on which the altar of Fortuna Redux had been consecrated 
to mark Augustus' return from Syria, the two Emperors cele- 
brated their stately triumph. The boy Commodus and a younger 
brother received the name of Caesar. Now at last Marcus, along 
with Verus, assumed the title * pater patriae,* which he, too, 
believed he had earned by what he had done at Rome, and in all 
piety made offering to win the gods' blessing for the first decade 
of his reign. 


Loudly as the Emperors* triumph was acclaimed, there was 
more and more cause for anxiety during 167. In the last few years 
there had been bad harvests in Italy with famine that claimed two 
largesses from the Emperor. The plague now raged in Rome itself. 
Men bowed beneath the blows of fate. Prayers and resolute 
administrative measures could not put a quick end to the pestilence. 
Garrisons were visited by it, and the ranks of the armies were 
thinned. More than that, there was danger on the frontiers of 
which the masses knew nothing. Marcus declared in the Senate 
that 'both Emperors were needed for the German war 2 / * While 
the Parthian war was still afoot, arose the war with the Marco- 
manni, that had long been postponed by the diplomacy of the 
local governors 3 / Such is the curt pronouncement of Marcus* 

1 On this war see the works cited in the Bibliography. A critical dis- 
cussion of its problems cannot be attempted here. 

2 S.ELA. Marcus, 12, 14. 3 IL 12, 13, 


biographer. The quickly repulsed incursion of the Chatti into 
Upper Germany and Raetia was clearly only the prelude to the 
long struggle that forced the Emperor to exchange Rome for the 
camp. Here, as five years earlier in the East, the crisis began with 
a disaster. 

Along the Raetian limes and the upper Danube there were no 
legionary camps. The garrisons on the middle and lower Danube 
had been weakened since the beginning of the war in the East, 
and the troops drawn from them were still on their way back, or 
had been worn out or used up in four years of campaigning and 
in the never-ending marches in Mesopotamia or their ranks had 
been thinned by the plague. Doubtless the weakness was skilfully 
masked, but one governor at least had misread the situation, for as 
late as May 5, 167 time-expired soldiers in the Lower Pannonian 
army were granted their discharge. The German peoples from the 
Saale to the lower Danube 1 were kept divided, watched over, and 
long since pacified; some were old clients of Rome affording a 
passage to Roman trade to the north. These tribes, engaged in 
agriculture and cattle-raising in the old region of the late village- 
culture, who had long since occupied the northern half of that 
seat of the old 'Illyrian' peoples which the Danube divided, 
seemed to have lost their ancient valour. But once they were 
inspired to join their forces and strike, the Roman frontier defence 
was not strong enough to withstand the onset of these populous 
enemies, and the way was open to the provinces and to Italy. Nor 
could the western and northern borders of Dacia, the imperial 
bastion that stood out so boldly as a promontory in a sea of 
4 bar baric * peoples, or Moesia Inferior on the lower Danube count 
themselves more secure. Even Germania Inferior and Belgica 
were not free from danger. 

A century before, the Roman frontiers had felt the shock of 
peoples from the North SeatotheEuxine(vol.x,p. 835) ; a century 
and again two centuries later they were to break under renewed 
onslaughts. Now, as the meagre records tell us, 'all the tribes 
from the Illyrian limes to Gaul conspired together 2 ' and, more 
than that, 'other peoples came to the frontiers in flight before 
more northerly conquerors, and threatened war if they were not 
allowed entry 3 / The sole impulse of this is not to be found in the 
migration of the Goths from their homes on the estuary of the 
Vistula in north-east Germany* They had long since driven the 
Burgundi south-westwards, and the Vandals to Silesia (p. 351), 

1 See Map 4, facing p. 131. 

2 See S.ELA. Marcus^ 22, I. 8 JA, 14, i. 


and also subdued groups of these last. They now set out to win 
new lands in the black-earth area of South Russia, passing through 
Poland and along the edges of the old Dual Monarchy, thence 
through Volhynia and Podolia and Bessarabia to the Black Sea. 
Thus their main body, clearly of set purpose, avoided contact 
with the Empire and did not even enter the country of its im- 
mediate neighbours. All they did was to alarm the tribes that 
they met north and east of the Carpathians. Thus the Goths were 
only one source of the movement. But no sooner was the war 
begun than in 167 Langobardi and Obii crossed the Danube into 
Upper Pannonia. There is no record of their earlier presence in 
this reservoir of Germans north of the Danube, so that they must 
have migrated soon before the war from the lower Elbe by way of 
Silesia and the Western Beskid range, down the Waag to the region 
of Brigetio in their search for land. These then were also the con- 
quering peoples that drove before them other tribes on to the 
borders of the Empire. The tribes of the 'Vandals' were on the 
move, from the Upper Oder; the Victuali and Charii 1 reaching 
the country of the Marcomanni, the Asdingi, the borders* of 
Dacia. About A.D. 170 Chauci from the lower Elbe pressed 
across the Rhine, and perhaps by sea, into Belgica (see below, 
P* 354)- So widespread was the stir among the free Germans, 
where long peace had made all seem to the Romans settled beyond 
chance of change. Finally, there was yet a third focus of trouble. 
The incursion of Chatti, the western neighbours of the northern 
Hermunduri, that was repeated in 169 but was repelled by the 
troops in the Mainz area, though it extended to a dimly recorded 
unrest among the Sequani in Germania Superior, cannot be a mere 
coincidence. For the tribes were in touch with each other and 
knew well what each was about. This third focus of trouble lies 
between the Elbe and Danube and it is the peoples that had 
* conspired together/ clearly summoned to an alliance in arms by 
Ballomar the king of the Marcomanni. The levies must have been 
mobilized before the first battles were joined and have been 
concentrated in 167* The first great thrust came from them, and 
they bore the heaviest burden of the war. 

This war, which lasted with one interruption, hardly two years 
long (175 7), till 1 80, began about June 167 in Upper Pannonia. 
The Langobardi and Obii crossed the Danube, plainly by 

1 In the list of the tribes in S.H. A. Marcus^ 22, I the reading of the MSS. 
hi altique can only conceal the name Charii, the more as the Victuali are 
mentioned immediately afterwards, the Asdingi appearing in Dio irXXir, 12. 
C also M. Petschenig in PhiloL LII, 1893, p. 349. 


agreement with the Quadi, through whose lands they must 
have passed. They were routed by the legion at Brlge